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Brothers and sisters, reunited in Tucson

Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-23 13:31:29-04

The relationships one has with their brothers and sisters is something many take for granted. Many foster children lose more than just their parents when they go into care -- they often are taken away from their brothers and sisters.

But on Saturday, morning, foster children from all across the state were reunited with them at the 12th annual Pima County Reunion; some for the first time in weeks, some for the first time in months.

Right now, there are currently around 19,000 kids in foster care in the state of Arizona, according to one of the event organizers Michaela Luna Romero. Putting that in perspective, the McKale Center at the University of Arizona has a capacity of around 15,000. So, fill that up completely, and there are still about 4,000 kids waiting outside.

In Pima County, there are about 3,200 kids in foster care, according to Superior Court Judge Joan Wagener. However, she notes that only 756 of those kids are actually in licensed foster homes.

She explained separating siblings when entering foster care happens far more than people would realize, and it's a very unfortunate circumstance. 

"The larger the sibling group, the less likely they will all be placed together," Wagener said. "And again, the opportunities for them to have ongoing, meaningful contact as siblings is really limited."

At Saturday's event at Menlo Park Elementary School, some kids traveled from Phoenix down to Tucson, to see their siblings coming from places as far as Bisbee. 

Kids of all ages at the event all looked forward to something different, whether it was the bouncy house, the carnival games, or the food. But they all had one thing in common: they understood how special it was to see their brothers and sisters.