The resources on this page highlight best practices in preparing prospective foster and/or kinship 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. The following resources provide examples of preservice training and other ways to ensure foster parents are equipped to build successful relationships with birth parents.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds (2018)
Promotes increased coordination between birth parents and foster parents to improve outcomes for children in out-of-home care. The organization shares several strategies to help foster parents and birth parents collaborate for timely permanency.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A Relationship Building Guide (PDF – 4,810 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, strengthen their families and support reunification and other alternative placements.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A Relationship Building Guide and the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A State and Local Leader’s Guide to Building a Strong Policy and Practice Foundation (PDF – 10,160 KB)
Children’s Trust Fund Alliance (2020)
Describes practices learned about culture, practice, and policy transformation from Quality Parenting Initiative jurisdictions that have been working to implement system changes to prioritize strong birth and foster parent partnerships.
Equipping Foster Parents to Actively Support Reunification (PDF - 158 KB)
Provides information on how foster parents can prepare for reunification with a child's birth family and reviews the benefits of preparing and supporting foster parents as they build relationships. One way to enable foster families to actively support reunification is through training, which is discussed on page 5 of the resource.
Family Matters: Supporting Connections to Birth Parents
Describes a training course for foster parents on how to help children in their care maintain connections with birth parents. The training requires a free subscription. View FosterClub’s full online training course catalog.
Foster Care: A Path to Reunification Podcast (Part 2) [Podcast]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (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.
Foster Parent and Relative Caregiver Training
Oregon Department of Human Services
Outlines foster parent and kinship caregiver training in Oregon and includes "Foundations Training," which is a required 24-hour preservice training that focuses on the importance of birth families, among other topics.
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.
How Can Birth and Foster Parent Partnerships Help Families Reunify?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Describes what it would look like if birth parents with experience in the child welfare system and foster parents worked together to mentor and support birth parents who recently had their children removed from the home.
Ice Breakers: Tapping Into the Power of Families Supporting Families (PDF - 349 KB)
American Bar Association (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.
Matrix of Birth and Foster Parent Strategies
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (2018)
Presents strategies used in programs and trainings across the country to help foster parents learn to build relationships and work with birth parents. The matrix includes the name and a description of each strategy.
Module 4: Developing and Maintaining Family Connections
Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System (2017)
Presents training on how foster parents can develop and maintain birth family connections as they prepare to care for a child in their home.
One Family: Birth Parents and Foster Parents
Foster Care Newsletter
Discusses programs across the country working to improve the relationship between foster parents and birth families. One example is a course in New Jersey offered to resource families titled, "Teaming With Birth Families for Success," which provides foster families with tips on how to work together with birth parents as a team. View a listing of other courses on the embrella website.