Increasingly, foster parents are seen as key players in the team working to achieve permanency for children in foster care. Foster parents often work with birth parents and support reunification efforts. They also may consider adopting the children in their care if the children cannot return home. As the children's primary caretakers, foster parents can have significant roles in carrying out the tasks in the permanency plan. The following resources offer a range of approaches for integrating foster parents throughout the permanency process.
Building Bridges Together: Bridge Resource Families: Strengthening Families, Helping Children Stay Connected (PDF - 234 KB)
Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Children and Family Services Division (2008)
Describes requirements and expectations for being a Bridge Resource Family in Oklahoma's Bridge Family program, which is designed to provide a placement resource committed to working with a child's birth family toward the goal of reunification, or, if reunification fails, to raising/parenting the child. This factsheet includes the perspectives of a child, a biological family, and a Bridge Resource Family who have experienced the program.
Foster Parent Involvement (PDF - 249 KB)
University of New Mexico; Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center; Advocacy, Inc.; New Mexico CASA Network; New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department; New Mexico Citizens Review Board; & New Mexico Children's Court Improvement Commission (2011)
Discusses the importance of foster parents as integral members of the treatment team, including current and best practices for ensuring foster parent involvement. A foster parents' bill of rights is also included.
Foster Parents and the Courts: A Guide for Foster Parents on Being an Effective Advocate in Court for Children in Foster Care (PDF - 384 KB)
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (2013)
Describes the court process for foster parents and includes information about their rights and responsibilities and how they can advocate for the children in their care.
Foster Parents Speak: Crossing Bridges and Fostering Change: Discussion and Resource Guide (PDF - 78 KB)
Adoptive and Foster Families Coalition of New York (2009)
Offers a companion guide for use with a video in which 10 foster parents relate challenges they've faced in developing shared parenting relationships with birth families and professionals to benefit the children in their care. The guide provides starter questions for discussion before watching the video, followed by discussion topics addressing eight areas, such as the challenges of foster parenting, keeping children connected to their birth parents, working with birth families, and reunification. The Foster Parents Speak: Crossing Bridges and Fostering Change video is part of the Living Adoption Series.
How to Support Reunification: Even if You Don’t Want to
Lists ways to cope with and manage responsibilities in throughout reunification process.
Ice Breaker Meetings: A Tool for Building Relationships Between Birth and Foster Families
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2012)
Outlines a step-by-step practice guide that provides information and resources to child welfare agencies on the use of Icebreaker family meetings. Icebreaker meetings are designed to build the critical connections between parents and the foster families who are caring for a child who has either entered out-of-home care or who has changed placements.
Involving Foster Parents in Permanency Planning for Adolescents in Treatment Foster Care: Evidence-Based Practices
Piescher, Armendariz, & LaLiberte (2008)
University of Minnesota Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Provides information to help foster care agencies become familiar with the permanency-related needs of adolescents in treatment foster care homes and identify the most effective methods for involving foster parents in permanency planning.
Resource Parents Partnering With Birth Parents to Benefit Children (PDF - 1,495 KB)
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (2009)
Presents a guide with information to help resource parents gain a better understanding of the importance of positive connections with birth parents and offers ways for resource parents to contribute to the success of these partnerships.