Camp To Belong is the only sibling reunification program in the U.S. that conducts a robust, ongoing, and scientifically grounded evaluation of its programming. We committed to rigorous evaluation in 2015 in order to establish evidence of our program’s impact and to support member camps in their continuous quality improvement efforts.
Sibling Connections Matter
Sibling relationships are emotionally powerful and a critically important part of family life not only in childhood, but over the course of a lifetime. For children who are placed into foster care, separation from siblings can lead to profound feelings of grief and loss, behavior problems, depression, and other mental health problems. Siblings who are separated are more likely to experience difficulties adapting to foster care, are more likely to experience foster care placement changes, and experience longer lengths of stay in out of home care.
Camp To Belong helps youth strengthen their sense of resilience. Campers who reported making memories, spending quality time together, and feeling like CTB made their relationship with their sibling stronger reported the greatest increases in resilience. Our evaluation has found significant increases in resilience, across all camp locations, over multiple years. It has also found high levels of satisfaction and belonging, which were associated with campers’ reported improvements in their sibling relationships.
Our Published Research
Dr. Jeffrey Waid, a nationally recognized scholar of positive youth development, leads our evaluation work. Dr. Waid’s most recent peer-reviewed publications on Camp To Belong’s impact include:
- Waid, J. (2020). Estimating the relational well-being of siblings separated by out-of-home care. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1-19. doi:10.1080/15548732.2020.1717715
- Waid, J., & Wojciak, A. (2019). Evaluating the impact of camp-based reunification on the resilience of siblings separated by foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 274-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.03.011
- Waid, J., & Wojciak, A. S. (2017). Evaluation of a multi-site program designed to strengthen relational bonds for siblings separated by foster care. Evaluation and Program Planning, 64, 69-77. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.05.006
Impact on Child Welfare Practice
The importance of Camp To Belong’s work was recognized in a Bulletin for Professionals (June 2019) on Sibling Issues in Foster Care and Adoption. Our member camps work closely with local child welfare agencies to bring separated siblings together for camp. Child welfare professionals value our program as a way to preserve connections among siblings. Connections with siblings serve as a protective factor for children who have been removed from their birth homes.
Camp To Belong does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our campers, volunteers and staff members.
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