Supporting the parent-child relationships of children in foster care.
As the child’s foster parents or relative caregiver you may have a role in facilitating visitation between children in foster care and their parents, siblings, and relatives.
Check your placement agreement
- Agency – Foster Parents Agreement – SOC 156 – this agreement will be initiated when the child is placed by the agency into the foster home
Caregiver's Role In Visitation:
- Encourage the child’s relationships with his parents and relatives.
- Cooperate in visiting arrangements between child and parents; and between child and siblings.
- Help with termination of placement including return to parents, relatives home, or adoptive placement.
- The dates of visits between the child and her parents or other family members.
- If you supervised the visits, provide the case social worker with a brief description of the behaviors of the child and the other family members present at the visits. Carefully describe only the behavior. Do not comment on the reason for the behavior.
- Cooperate in any telephone contacts between the child and the child’s parents or other family members.
Effective Parent-Child Visitation
One of the greatest predictors of placement stability, successful family reunification, and, in some cases, preventing re-entry into child welfare is ensuring quality visits between the parent and child. Greater benefits are rendered when:
- infants receive daily visits and older children receive weekly visits that are consistent
- Research finds that consistent weekly visits:
- increase the likelihood of successful reunification
- reduces the time in out-of-home care
- promotes healthy secure attachments
The important components that contribute to meaningful parent-child visitations:
- having the visits serve as opportunities for parents to practice and enhance their parenting skills,
- scheduling visits at the foster family’s home during challenging times such as bedtime,
- scheduling visits that allow the parent to be a part of the child’s life (e.g., doctor appointments),
- encouraging the foster parents to have a healthy and supportive relationship with the birth parents.
Northern California Training Academy, The Center For Human Services, Factors, Characteristics, and Promising Practices Related to Reunification and Re-entry Foster Care and Child Welfare Services, (May 2009)