While children are in out-of-home care placements, it is important to maintain connections with their birth families. Parent-child visits are a key strategy to accomplish this and to work toward reunification of the family. Resources include State and local examples.
Introduction to Parent-Child Visits
Child Welfare Information Gateway & National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Provides a self-guided online training course for child welfare and related professionals to improve outcomes through parent-child visits and enhance efforts toward family reunification.
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Offers a collection of reports, curricula, and other resources relevant to visiting between children and birth families.
Enhancing Parent-Child Interaction During Foster Care Visits: Experimental Assessment of an Intervention (PDF - 206 KB)
Haight, Mangelsdorf, Black, Szewczyk, Schoppe, Giorgio, Madrigal, & Tata (2002)
Twenty mothers of young children placed in foster care participated in an intervention designed to enhance parent-child interaction during visits.
Family Visitation of Children and Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 357 KB)
National CASA Association & National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2006)
The Judge's Page Newsletter, June 2006
Highlights how courts can make appropriate and effective visitation decisions for children in foster care, their siblings and parents.
Helping Grandchildren Stay in Contact With Parents (PDF - 83 KB)
University of Georgia, College of Family & Consumer Sciences (2003)
Guidelines for grandparents to help grandchildren maintain a relationship with their parents.
Information Packet: Parent-Child Visiting (PDF - 131 KB)
Includes facts and statistics, policies and legislation, best practices and model programs, websites and resources, and a bibliography about parent-child visits in foster care.
Information Packet: Visiting With Family in Foster Care (PDF - 125 KB)
Includes facts and statistics, policies and legislation, best practices, websites and resources, and a bibliography on visiting with family in foster care.
In Whose Arms?: Using Relational Therapy in Supervised Family Visitation With Very Young Children in Foster Care
Lee & Stacks
Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 15(4), 2004
Describes a research program, Families in Transition (FIT), that uses court-ordered family visitation sessions as an opportunity for relational assessment and interventions.
Making Visits Better: The Perspectives of Parents, Foster Parents, and Child Welfare Workers (PDF - 72 KB)
Haight, Black, Mangelsdorf, & Giorgio (2001)
The importance of recognizing different expectations for visits and of coaching birth and foster parents about coping with children's responses.
Programs That Provide Services to Support Family Visiting of Children in Foster Care (PDF - 166 KB)
National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (2008)
Lists agencies and programs that provide services to help children in foster care visit with their families.
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2007)
Provides information on evidence-based supervised parent-child visitation programs.
Toolbox No. 1: Using Visitation to Support Permanency
Child Welfare League of America (2001)
Identifies considerations for planning and implementing visitation and describes best practices in the child welfare field.
Visit Coaching: Building on Family Strengths to Meet Children's Needs
Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 59(1), 2008
Describes an innovative approach that can replace parenting classes and office-based visits with hands-on guidance to help parents take charge of visits and demonstrate more responsiveness to each child.
Visiting Between Children in Care and Their Families: A Look at Current Policy (PDF - 264 KB)
National Resource Center for Foster Care & Permanency Planning (2003)
Reviews the foster care visitation policies of 37 States and summarizes the States' treatment of written visitation plans, participants in visits, frequency and location of visits, responsibilities and supervision, right of contact, and visiting activities.
State and local examples
Child and Family Visitation: A Practice Guide to Support Lasting Reunification and Preserving Family Connections for Children in Foster Care (PDF - 893 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services (2009)
Reviews the benefits of child and biological family visitation when the child is in foster care and presents guidelines for conducting successful visits. The guide includes a review of Minnesota foster care statutes and an example of a visitation plan.
Family Interaction as a Pathway to Permanency (PDF - 231 KB)
Iowa Department of Human Services (2009)
Highlights the Iowa Family Interaction Initiative, which promotes regular, reliable, and goal-oriented interaction among children in placement and their parents and family members. The bulletin explains expectations and goals, and describes the roles of the caseworker, parent, foster parent, and provider in developing a family interaction plan.
Parent-Child Visits: Managing the Challenges, Reaping the Rewards
North Carolina Division of Social Services
Fostering Perspectives: Views on Foster Care and Adoption in North Carolina, 15(1), 2010
Describes strategies foster caregivers can use to facilitate visitation and to prepare and support the child. The article also lists 10 ways caseworkers can support foster parents around visitation.
Protecting and Promoting Meaningful Connections: The Importance of Quality Family Time in Parent-Child Visitation (PDF - 2396 KB)
New Jersey Office of the Child Advocate (2010)
Identifies best practices in parent-child visitation both nationally and in New Jersey and recommends strategies for expanding quality visitation practices throughout the State so that more New Jersey families can stay safely together.
Visitation as a Reunification Service (PDF - 209 KB)
Juvenile Rights Project & Juvenile Law Research Center (2010)
Discusses the value of visitation for maintaining the bond between parents and children in Oregon and the strong correlation between visitation and reunification.