Credit hours:
2.50

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

Mindy Meyers's picture

Mindy Meyers said:

It is ever important that kid's know their bio family and where they come from.
Lmcelheny's picture

Lmcelheny said:

Biological relationships are permanent and an important piece of any persons life.
Lmcelheny's picture

Lmcelheny said:

Biological relationships are permanent and an important piece of any persons life.
jdwilliams's picture

jdwilliams said:

Foster children need to have a relationship with their biological families because no matter what they are family. At some point they may reach out and it will be important for all members to know each other to avoid certain disappointments.
Nplummer1's picture

Nplummer1 said:

Why is it important to help a young person maintain connections to their family of origin even if reunification is not the permanency plan? I believe it's important to keep a connection even if reunification isn't the goal because that is their family no matter what the circumstance that lead to a child being in care. There will always be question bio family can answer that foster family can't. for example when you go to doctor and they ask for family history. I have no clue what my foster child bio family history is but, by keeping an open relation with the bio family that is one call/text away to get answer that is needed.
aliholroyde's picture

aliholroyde said:

I think kids need to know about their birth family and know they are loved and that you support them knowing their birth family.
aholroyde's picture

aholroyde said:

It's important for the child to feel a sense of belonging and connected to their family of orgin even if reunification does not end up happening. Our role as foster parents to help grow that.
Stalicake's picture

Stalicake said:

Builds trust between the foster family and the child. It is the child's family and will always be connected, maintaining a positive relationship helps through any transitions that happen.
Kaaron07's picture

Kaaron07 said:

Kids need to know where they came from and that they are loved, even if reunification does not work out.
Rdavis2016's picture

Rdavis2016 said:

Staying connected takes weight off of the children who may not feel like they are allowed to ask questions about their biological family which can result in built up anxiety and mistrust in their foster families. None of the situations in foster care are the "fault" of the children, and they need to be reassured of that so they can be confident throughout their whole life.