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 children and youth and require special care and handling. Helping a young person maintain or strengthen connections to birth parents can be challenging. Learn how foster parents can help support and guide children and youth on their journeys 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 children and youth maintain connections to their birth parents

  • Positive ways to help children and youth stay connected to birth parents

  • Strategies for building healthy and safe relationships with birth parents

  • Why relationships with birth parents are so important for children and 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 of maintaining his connection to her.

Step 2

Foster parents play a critical role when it comes to maintaining connections between youth and their birth families. Review the following resource developed by the state of Wisconsin “Developing And Maintaining Family Connection” to gain insight into promoting and strengthening safe and healthy relationships.

Step 3

Read the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s factsheet on Partnering with Birth Parents to Promote Reunification.”  This resource was informed by focus groups with birth parents and foster parents, and shares their advice and highlights the many opportunities to help children, youth, and families in need.

**Optional additional resource: Visit the Birth Parent National Network (BPNN) and Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP), and view the many resources available that convey perspectives from parents with experience in the child welfare system on a variety of topics.

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?

Step 7

Finished the module? If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate!

Subscribe now!

Just $24.95 for 1 year subscription per parent (unlimited access to courses for one year).

Subscribe Now

Log in to your account

Already subscribed? Log in to your FosterClub account now to take a course!

Log in

Course Discussion

Shakarmia's picture

Shakarmia said:

Maintaining a close relationship with their bio parents, reducing trauma from separation, and keeping the child connected to their family and culture are all reasons to keep children in communication with their bio family .
EarthyGirl31's picture

EarthyGirl31 said:

I think children should have relationships with their birth family because it helos prevent the void of not knowing who they are exactly. It allows them to gain knowledge of positive family history and genetic medical history.
mattbaxter's picture

mattbaxter said:

Reunification is the great in most cases as long as it is a healthy environment for the child.
James Tucker's picture

James Tucker said:

It is important to maintain family connections even if reunification is no longer the goal because every child deserves to know where they came from, and when it is safe to do so, they deserve to know how to connect to those in their family of origin. Failing to maintain these connections can leave a child feeling lonely and isolated as they transition to adolescence and then to adulthood.
H.Collins's picture

H.Collins said:

It is important if the child is safe to help them maintain contact with their bio families so that they can be in touch with where they came from. Even if their parents aren't in a good situation, it will help ease their minds to know what is going on. It will also help them to advocate for themselves in court if they don't feel same with reunification
Crystalann77's picture

Crystalann77 said:

I feel it's extremely important to get to know the birth parents so you can know more in depth about the child. Video chats, phone calls, letters are important to keep the bond.
tia_coles's picture

tia_coles said:

It is important to help a young person maintain connections to their family of origin even if reunification is not the permanency plan, because it allows the youth to feel like they are apart of their family even though they aren't their physically. This helps because children don't understand that their parents have made mistakes so they get taken away. They just know that their parents are gone and miss them very much. A connection allows the youth to not grow resentment against the parents and allows them to have a healthy relationship.
kevborders's picture

kevborders said:

Great content. Reunification is a great thing in most cases!
Yorgey05's picture

Yorgey05 said:

These children will always have questions that the foster parent can't answer and that only a bio parent can. Keeping in communication with the bio parents will help with hurt and pain and allow the child to grow and flourish and not dwell on the unknowns. Foster parents can provide a great example to the children of how adults can communicate and work together even when they might disagree or not even like each other.
Beto14's picture

Beto14 said:

It is very important for children to have contact with bio family members, the child won't feel like they have lost everything they have ever known.