Why Build a Relationship with the Birth Family?
- The best foster parents become a support for birth families when appropraite.
- Children identify strongly with their parent, even when that parent has abused or neglected them. If you want to love a child, you must love all of them and the birth family will always be a part of your child's history and in most cases thier future.
- Showing respect for their parent (while expressing your anger or sadness about their actions) shows care for the child and for their identity
- Separation from one’s family is a lifelong trauma with lifelong effects. The love of a foster parent for the child is shown most clearly when they do what they can do to help that child return to their family if possible, even if it is uncomfortable or results in the loss of that child from your life.
- When the child goes home, you stand the best chance of maintaining a relationship with them if you cultivate a relationship with their birth family.
Ways to initiate communication
- Provide a notebook that is exchanged at visitation with updates, school work, art projects, pictures for birth parent to read and respond if desired.
- Create a closed facebook page with updates, photos
- Create a private Email account for one-on-one communication
- Create a private Google or other phone number that redirects to your phone.
- Provide scrapbooks of the child/children
- In person! Transport to visits, ask to meet birthparents and ask them questions about their child – seek their input.
- Seek to include them in meetings and appointments that involve their children
Foster Parent Tips!
- Don't mistake a child acting out or being upset after a visit as evidence that the visits are harmful. It is common for children to act before, during and after visits.
- Start with baby steps as you are learning to trust. Start with notebook or in-person communication.
- Do not share personal information you are not comfortable with right away. Last name, phone numbers, address should be kept confidential until trust has been well established.
- Be clear about your intentions, do not over- promise communication.
- Defer to the caseworker when you are unsure of boundary issues.