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Woman tells social worker sister, 'you don't know what is best for our foster kids.' AITA?

Woman tells social worker sister, 'you don't know what is best for our foster kids.' AITA?


"AITA for telling my sister that just because she's a social worker it doesn't mean she always knows what's best for foster kids?"


My sister (30s) is a social worker. My husband and I (30s) are foster parents. We are currently long term foster parents (and possibly foster to adopt) for biological siblings.

The siblings lost their sole parent a couple of years ago. They have half siblings from said parent who are much older, now adults to be exact. Our foster kids miss their half siblings and have craved a relationship with them.

But the half siblings have chosen not to have contact and ,from the limited info we know about our foster kids lives before they came to live with us, any visits that were had while the half siblings were minors, it had to be forced on the older kids who did not wish to keep contact.

This has been extremely difficult for our foster children and we have advocated for them to be in therapy, which luckily was approved and they go once a week. But they often ask about and bring up their half siblings and beg for us to set up time for them to see them.

My sister is aware of this and has spoken out to my husband and myself three different times about how we need to do more to ensure this relationship between siblings. We have told her that's not possible.

She told us we are failing our foster kids. She said we need to find out the info of these half siblings and fight for contact. She told us we could bring it to court if we need to.

I reminded her that's not something we can do. She told me the kids will never see us as parents or want to be in our family if we keep them from their siblings. And then she went on and on about how important sibling relationships are and brought up the fact she's a social worker and "she knows how these things work better than anyone in the family".

I told her that just because she's a social worker it doesn't mean she always knows what's best for foster kids. I told her she also has no control over adult decisions that are made.

Which is something she should know as a social worker. She told me I should take her professional advice and stop invalidating her profession and experience like I did just there. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. You and your husband probably know the situation most intimately of everyone presently involved, and you still come to the conclusion trying to force a relationship with the half siblings is going to end badly.

As a social worker your sister should know it’s not one size fits all with broken families and individual cases have individual nuances that need to be handled on a case by case basis. She’s got a romanticised view of families sticking together and whether or not she’s aware of the particulars of this case she needs to trust your judgment.

The OP responded here:


She is very much a "keep family together at all costs" and while I agree there are times that is essential. There are also times it's not only not realistic but not in anyone's best interest.

If contact has to be forced like she suggests I don't see it as being healthy for anyone. We are aware of more details and because it's the kids' history and story, we never go into details with others. People pick up on stuff from what they say and nothing else.


I’m a social worker for CPS, granted I do not specialize in foster care or work in your state. Forcing a sibling relationship even if everyone is a minor is a terrible idea. Adults have the right to choose who they want a relationship with.

It may be worthwhile to discuss with your social worker and the kiddos therapist how to broach the topic of the older siblings not wanting contact in a sensitive age appropriate way.

The OP again responded:


That's how we have been handling it. They don't fully grasp it yet sadly. But we know they will in time and they will have the resources and support behind them to help them through this.


NTA- does your sister genuinely think a court can force adults to see their minor half-siblings if they’re not interested in doing so? The courts can’t get parents to do that, she sounds delusional.


NTA, did she get her degree in Walmart? As a profesional, a social worker, she should know that forcing a relationship or for the adult half siblings to have contact or even take responsibility for your foster kids is only gonna end badly.

A lot of the kids in the foster system are literally there because the parents/care takers don't want to have them, or even abuse them bc of spite and resentment. You have tried to help them have that relationship, but if the adult half siblings do not want contact, you can't do anything more about it.

It's sad that it has to be that way, but once your kids grow up a little bit more, or become adults themselves, you can try to find that contact info in case they want to reconnect later in life. Honestly, tell your sister to demonstrate she is in fact a professional bc right now she isn't really doing that...


Social workers like your sister forced my nephew back with his biological mother at 7 yrs old. He was abused psychologically by his stepdad for a whole year before they gave him back to his grandma and had little to no contact ever again. SD died and BM has no contact now 20 yrs later at my nephews decision. Social workers are so narrow minded they don't see the big picture. 🙄


NTA. It’s completely inappropriate for your sister to be pushing her opinion on you here, from a professional standpoint. She is not your family’s social worker. Sure, sometimes it’s great to have a professional you can lean on and ask questions to, but the line in the sand is that they don’t start telling you what to do and especially not under the guise of being the professional.

Your sister should also know that every situation is different and there is not one hard and fast rule for how things are handled. It sounds to me as though you are handling this well.

You are correct that you cannot force adult half siblings to have a relationship with the children, and no you cannot go to court to attempt to make that happen (WTF was she even on about there?).

But more than that even, there is a very real risk that if you did try to “fight” for those relationships you would end up giving the children false hope. It is better if they learn to deal with not having that relationship, and you are doing all the right things by managing things and getting them into therapy.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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