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

gkjackjr1's picture

gkjackjr1 said:

Family Connection is important for the childs mental health and self worth.
espells38's picture

espells38 said:

It important to help a young person maintain connections to their family of origin even if reunification is not the permanency plan because they will always have a place in the child's life. The birth parents gave them life. maintaining connections also keeps the child from feeling as if you are withholding the birth parents love and support if they are able to visit with them on a regular basis. It also provides a semblance of normalcy for the child whose world has changed drastically.
Nataki41's picture

Nataki41 said:

It is important to keep children connected with their birth parents for their emotional well being. I wish there was more discussion on when it is not an ideal situation to have the foster children connected with their birth parents.
lmiester's picture

lmiester said:

Very helpful articles!
Cynthia Berry's picture

Cynthia Berry said:

Good information
Cynthia Berry's picture

Cynthia Berry said:

Good information
ILYA9G95's picture

ILYA9G95 said:

This is great information and will work if all the best situations are in place.
Jill's picture

Jill said:

Pre-adoptive foster parent here. The statement that continuing contact with birth family is good for kids could use some more elaboration. I'm not sure I see it. We just had the first visit with birth mother following her surrender six months ago. My foster daughter (8) is still struggling weeks later. She's super clingy and displaying behaviors we thought she'd outgrown. I'm curious how the adoptive parent discussed in the article in Step 3 came to decide that it was safe and appropriate to let her adoptive daughter spend overnights with her birth family. We want to give our foster daughter peace of mind but also want to keep her safe, and it doesn't feel like facilitating contact with an extremely dysfunctional birth family is going to do that.
SLBowman's picture

SLBowman said:

It's important for a child to maintain their family connections. It gives them hope, which is something they need during this time of uncertainty. This information was very informative.
Brunsfamily2018's picture

Brunsfamily2018 said:

This information is very informative for new children entering foster care and for adoptive children.