Iowa lawmakers today invited children from troubled families to the capitol to observe as the Iowa Senate approved legislation designed to benefit foster kids. The bill would require social workers to make every effort to help foster kids stay in touch with their siblings. Jewel Barnes of Des Moines was separated from her younger twin brothers when she was placed in foster care.
"It was like a big gap for me losing my brothers because they meant so much to me. I started to close off from people because I missed my brothers so much," she says. "But we’re doing way better now because I do have visits with my brothers now."
Kayla Pettit of Indianola was put in foster care when her mother’s parental rights were terminated. She was separated from her brother and sister — and asked social workers to help her. "I started to talk about how much I missed my siblings and how much I wanted to be with them," Pettit says. "I now have visits with my siblings after eight years…I write letters to my brother."
Kayla regained contact with her siblings after her foster mom intervened, but senators say that doesn’t always happen. About 50 foster kids were present this morning as the Iowa Senate passed another bill to update Iowa law on grandparent visitation rights.