Youth in out-of-home care need positive relationships and connections with the people in their lives, and collaborative relationships are also necessary to achieve successful outcomes in child welfare. Resources in this section will demonstrate how collaborative relationships between birth parents and foster parents can promote family engagement, sibling connections, and long-term relationship development and preservation for youth in out-of-home care. Resources include State and local examples.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds (2018)
Works to create partnerships between parents who advocate for policy and practices that benefit children and families. The organization has collected several strategies to help birth parents and foster parents work together.
Building Bridges Between Birth Parents, Foster Parents
The Chronicle of Social Change
Provides information on a growing movement at the national level to bring birth parents and foster parents together. The Birth and Foster Parent Partnership works to identify practices and policies that can affect how different types of parents interact to achieve the best outcomes for children and youth in care.
Making a Difference by Maintaining Connections
Gillespie Foster (2016)
Provides information on how to help young people maintain connections with birth family members and how successful foster and kinship parents can help build these relationships. The page also includes information specific to reunification, sibling connections, and adoption.
Positive Interactions With Birthparents as a Foster Parent
Explains how to have positive interactions with birth parents during a foster placement and provides tips for foster parents on how to handle various situations.
Resource Families Supporting Reunification (PDF - 161 KB)
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law
Summarizes interviews with resource families and discusses their motivation, practices, and goals. The resource families said that building strong relationships with birth families led to easier reunifications and more stability for the children they were fostering.
Tip Sheet for Supporting Family Reunification
Child Law Practice Today
Describes how foster parents can be one of the most important resources to help children reunify with their families as well as strategies for how families can support reunification. These collaborative strategies include respecting birth parents and being compassionate, encouraging visitation, communicating regularly, and promoting cooperation.
3 Simple Ways to Build a Positive Relationship With Your Foster Child's Birth Parents
Trinity Youth Services (2018)
Provides information on how foster parents can work to build positive relationships with birth parents. The tips include suggestions on how to be supportive, what questions to ask yourself, how to host family meetings, and more.
Developing and Maintaining Family Connections (PDF - 246 KB)
State of Wisconsin Foster Parent Handbook (2017)
Examines the critical role foster parents play in maintaining relationships between children and their biological families. The chapter illustrates the powerful impact foster parent support and assistance can have on strengthening a family.
Partners With Birth Parents for Reunification
Fostering Change: Alliance for New Hampshire Foster Parents (2017)
Presents information and resources for parents on shared parenting between birth parents and foster parents, with the aim of helping birth parents focus on the well-being of their children while they are in care. The website explains shared family care and gives examples of additional materials that may be useful.
Tips for Working With Biological Parents (PDF - 623 KB)
Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association (2015)
Provides tips for foster parents on working with biological parents and outlines stages of grief and loss birth parents may feel when a child is removed from their home. The resource provides information on working with biological parents through each stage.