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

rlcmurphy's picture

rlcmurphy said:

We want our child to know and love her birth parents. I believe she will have resentment if she isn't allowed that. We want her to have all the love and support she needs from all family if safe and healthy relationships can be formed.
Princess Brown's picture

Princess Brown said:

I agree that the children should be educated in learning how be part of the of the world in many different ways just. Let the kids be open mind they to that is why the parent and the worker, they all need to really to have something more to say it would bring more change.
sedadianette's picture

sedadianette 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? Mostly, for the well being of the youth, keep that important connection to the parents and siblings that they've known for years before reaching the foster home.
kmccullough77's picture

kmccullough77 said:

A healthy connection if at all possible it so critical to that child knowing who and where they came from it is instinctively in them to want to know their bio family.
mwt1011's picture

mwt1011 said:

It is imperative that children maintain a connection to their birth family in a safe and secure manner to help them build a full picture of themselves. A foster family may be of a different race, ethnicity or culture and can not provide first hand experiences for their foster child as their birth family could.
Kacielynn22's picture

Kacielynn22 said:

These kids deserve the ability to know where they come from, no matter how old or how long they’ve been in care. As long as it’s safe, kids deserve to stay connected with their birth family if they want to.
Christine Spayd's picture

Christine Spayd said:

Very informative
Christine Spayd's picture

Christine Spayd said:

Very informative
nhaynes's picture

nhaynes said:

its important becasue it is still their family
jwelch's picture

jwelch said:

its important to open line of communication with bio parents. make them feel cofortable and that you are a team working toward the same goal