My work: Reuniting and supporting brothers and sisters placed in separate foster homes to preserve their sibling bonds.
Lynn wants to see a Camp To Belong summer camp—with a corresponding year-round community support organization—in each state or region of the United States and in other countries. She also plans to establish an international, year-round “haven” for reunited siblings of all ages. Camp To Belong is spreading across the country and into Canada. With the collective power of CTB affiliates, their communities, and coalitions of like-minded organizations, Lynn aims to convince policymakers, child welfare professionals, and caregivers to avoid separating siblings, and to help separated siblings reunite.
Lynn’s newest idea is to establish the Sibling Connection Initiative (SCI) to prevent siblings from being separated when families break apart—or help them reunite when separated. She intends to achieve these goals by educating social workers and foster/adoptive parents, and by changing public policy. The Sibling Connection Initiative organizes grassroots community groups and supports their efforts, individually and collectively, to call attention to the individual and societal impact of siblings separated by the foster care system. Lynn views her summer camps as a catalyst for new legislation on sibling placement and visitation, recruitment of more foster and adoptive families to embrace siblings, and enlightened, sibling-friendly practices among child welfare professionals. She envisions a day when the camps are not needed because all siblings in out-of-home care will be living under the same roof or have an accountable, consistent connection plan in place.
In 2015, Camp To Belong is celebrating 20 years! Over 9,000 siblings separated through foster, adoptive or kinship care have been reunited at CTB summer camps and year-round programs. The Camp model is represented through Member Camps in over 10 states and Australia with more planned. Not only do siblings create memories and build confidence, the significance of the sibling bond now has greater impact in legislation, family recruitment and best practice in child welfare. [ed. note: Lynn is also featured in Ashoka Fellow Ken Banks' 2013 book, The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator]