Credit hours:

Course Summary

Foster parents play a vital role in maintaining connections between children and their birth parents. These relationships can be confusing and chaotic for youth and require special care and handling. This isn't always easy; helping a young person maintain or strengthen connections to birth parents can be challenging. Learn how you as a foster parent can help support and guide a young person on their journey to creating or maintaining the extremely critical, healthy connection to their birth parents.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Your role as a foster parent in helping a young person maintain connections to their birth parents
  • Positive ways to help a young person stay connected to birth parents
  • Strategies for building healthy and safe relationships with birth parents
  • Why relationships with birth parents are so important for youth in care, even if reunification is not the goal

Step 1

Read Kodi’s story about “Preparing for Reunification” with his birth mother and the importance and impact maintaining the connection to her made.

Step 2

Foster parents play a critical role when it comes to maintaining connections between youth and their family of origin. Review the following resource developed by the state of Wisconsin “Developing And Maintaining Family Connection”, to gain insight into how to promote and strengthen safe and healthy relationships.

Step 3

Learn about some of the struggles foster parents face when trying to help maintain family connections for youth who are in their care; as well as the potential benefits of creating supportive relationships with birth parents by reviewing  Fostering Perspectives article “Making a Difference by Maintaining Connections.”

Step 4

Foster parents can be one of the most important resources to help children and families reunify. Review “Resource Family Tip Sheet for Supporting Reunification” developed by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law for resources and tips on how to support a safe reunification.

Step 5

Learn why it is so important to help a young person remain connected to an incarcerated parent by reviewing Linda’s Story “Visiting Hours - Kids have a Right to see their Parents in Prison

Step 6

Join the Discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

Why is it important to help a young person maintain connections to their family of origin even if reunification is not the permanency plan?

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Course Discussion

dsalmans's picture

dsalmans said:

If a child feels unsafe, unloved, and unsupported nothing else in their lives are going to work correctly. It is our job as foster parents to show them with our actions how much we care about them and by helping them have a healthy relationship with their biological family does just that. It is also important to build a healthy relationship because if you do so the chances of you staying in that child's life forever is much higher. We want what's best for the child!
SerenaSalmans's picture

SerenaSalmans said:

It is in our natural design to want to feel connected and accepted. I believe God gave us our family for a reason. All of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We love our family no matter what they have done and everyone makes mistakes. It's so important to continue that bond and connection no matter what the out come will be, because we are forever connected with our biological families. When that connection is strong, I believe it sets everything else in life up for success. It is our job as Foster Parents to FOSTER that relationship between the bio families and the children. It's one of the most rewarding parts of foster care, in my humble opinion, when you can show the child you love them so much that you want them to help them have a healthy relationship with their family. It builds trust all across the board.
CharlieLang's picture

CharlieLang said:

They deserve to know their family and they might wonder or miss out on a positive connection.
celestialstina80's picture

celestialstina80 said:

There will always be a family bond. It is human nature to want to know and understand where you come from.'s picture

sarahhmiller197... said:

It is important because it is his / her family - that is enough to make it important.'s picture said:

It is important because it is the history of THAT child - it is his / her connection to his / her past - to his / her culture - to his / her ethnicity.'s picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

its very important to keep relationship with bio family when safe to do so
BJSingleton's picture

BJSingleton said:

BJSingleton's picture

BJSingleton said:

Very Good
BJSingleton's picture

BJSingleton said:

Good information to share