When children are separated from their parents and move into resource homes, child welfare practitioners can prepare and encourage resource families and their agencies to collaborate with parents from the onset. Normalizing partnerships between resource families and parents can create opportunity for increased, understanding the engagement child’s needs, and increased likelihood of reunification.
The resources on this page highlight best practices in preparing prospective resource families to enhance relationships with birth parents throughout the time the parents’ child is in their care. Working collaboratively with birth parents represents family-centered practice and can help facilitate the child's timely return home. Use these resources to find examples of preservice training and other ways to ensure foster parents are equipped to build successful relationships with birth parents.
6 Tips for Foster Parents Preparing for Reunification
Offers tips for foster parents to help prepare them for a child’s transition to reunification with their birth family.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership
Children's Trust Fund Alliance
Promotes increased coordination between birth parents and foster parents to improve outcomes for children in out-of-home care.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A Relationship Building Guide (PDF – 4,968 KB)
Children’s Trust Fund Alliance (2020)
Guides agencies and families to help build respectful and supportive relationships with one another to best meet the needs of the children or youth in care and support reunification.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A State and Local Leader’s Guide to Building a Strong Policy and Practice Foundation (PDF – 10,404 KB)
Children’s Trust Fund Alliance (2020)
Provides strategies and promising practices for jurisdictions that are working to implement system changes to prioritize strong birth and foster parent partnerships.
Episode 36: Foster Care: A Path to Reunification Podcast - Part 2 [Podcast]
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2019)
Explores trainings and collaborations within San Diego County’s Children’s Services that engage birth families and resource families to work together to build parents’ capacity and support a greater chance at reunification.
Equipping Foster Parents to Actively Support Reunification (PDF - 158 KB)
Provides information on how child welfare professionals can help foster parents prepare for reunification with a child's birth family and reviews the benefits of preparing and supporting foster parents as they build relationships with the birth parents.
Foster Parent Training
Offers information on preservice training for foster parents in Oklahoma, which includes training on how foster parents can support relationships between children and their birth parents, siblings, and kin.
Ice Breakers: Tapping Into the Power of Families Supporting Families (PDF - 349 KB)
American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law (2019)
Recognizes the important role foster parents play in supporting the birth parents and their reunification efforts, which has led to new communication and partnership practices.
IMPACT FCP Description and Requirements
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services
Describes IMPACT Family-Centered Practice (FCP) preservice training for foster families in Georgia and topics the training addresses, including communication and partnership between foster families and birth families during a child's time in foster care.
Resource Parent and Relative Resource Parent Training
Oregon Department of Human Services
Outlines foster parent and kinship caregiver training in Oregon and includes a required 24-hour preservice training that focuses on the importance of birth families, among other topics.