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

mayharley's picture

mayharley said:

Children want to feel wanted & accepted by their family
cmaher0025's picture

cmaher0025 said:

Maintaining connections is important because it helps with the child's mental health - it gives a sense of belonging and knowledge of where they come from and a connect to their culture.
hanchettbj's picture

hanchettbj said:

It is important for children to keep connections to their birth families because of feelings of loss and helping to keep those connections helps to keep the child from feelings of depression and being unwanted.
Bdean's picture

Bdean said:

I feel it's important to maintain the bond with family, for the benefit of the child. It gives them a sense of belonging. Even if the child is adopted, without that connection the child we constantly miss that part of them.
Hanchettdan's picture

Hanchettdan said:

Helping kids to keep and maintain connections with bio-family is important for several reasons: It gives a sense of belonging, gives a positive outlook on family, helps the child to grow into adulthood and to remain in connections of who they are and where they come from.
Mudman_97's picture

Mudman_97 said:

This helps keep relationships open so kids can stay connected when they are out of foster care
Aabeyta's picture

Aabeyta said:

Because supporting reunification is the goal of foster care.
krankykat07's picture

krankykat07 said:

was very informative
paulabeyta's picture

paulabeyta said:

So the child knows where they came from and their history, and to help with trust with the adoptive family.
Jschwendeman7's picture

Jschwendeman7 said:

Their biological family will always be their family and children will always want a connection to them. Children will always have questions about their family .