The Washington Siblings

One of the wonderful things about Palmetto Place is our ability to keep siblings together. If you have a sibling you might know how tight that bond can become. There’s no one who understands where you come from or what you’ve been through quite like a sibling who’s lived in the same house.

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Entering foster care can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Kids might need to be interviewed by the police, examined by a doctor, or questioned by a caseworker. Many times, they don’t understand what is happing or why.

Most kids in the foster care system have experienced some sort of trauma from physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, neglect, or extreme poverty. But many of these kids don’t think they’re being abused or neglected. They think their house is just like every other house, and unless someone shows them differently, that’s all they’ll ever know. This makes entering foster care even more confusing.

A sad truth of the foster care system is sometimes siblings are split up. There is a shortage of good foster homes available, and many only have one or two beds available. It’s rare that sibling groups of three or more find a family that can take them all in together. But Palmetto Place has 30 beds for kids and teens in foster care, allowing us to take in sibling groups large and small, keeping families together.

One of those families is the Washington siblings. The three brothers ages 11, 14, and 15 entered foster care after their mother suddenly suffered a stroke. She loves her sons very much, but the stroke left her bedridden and paralyzed, unable to take care of her three boys. The set of siblings were worried about her health and what would happen to them when they were brought to Palmetto Place.

Knowing they would stay together lifted a weight from their shoulders. There is still so much they are processing, but at least they can process together.

On a typical afternoon, you can catch Alec, the oldest, fine-tuning his basketball skills in our backyard. He hopes that one day he can play basketball at the college level or even become a pro. Challenge him to a game of HORSE if you’d like, but beware – he loves a good competition.

Able, the middle brother, doesn’t share his brother’s enthusiasm for winning a competition. He would rather put pencil to paper and create a graphic novel than spend an afternoon on the court. He is hoping his artistic talent will help him gain admission to the Palmetto Center for the Arts this fall.

The youngest of the siblings, Ari, has many interests including drawing and music. He thinks it would be cool to have a job one day where he can make people happy through music or art, but for now, he’ll continue leaving artwork for our house parents.

The Washington siblings are just one family that Palmetto Place has kept together over the years. They’re just one of the many reasons programs like ours are so needed by our state’s children.

Grace Bennett