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May 2008Vol. 9, No. 4Visit Coaching for Parents

Visits between parents and their children in foster care offer an opportunity to strengthen families and address many of the issues that may have led to the out-of-home placement. Providing parents with coaching for these visits may improve the likelihood of positive outcomes.

An article on the Children and Family Futures (CFF) website describes visit coaching, a model developed by Marty Beyer to "help families take charge of visits, involve foster families and kin in visits, build attachment between infants and their families, involve teenagers in visits, and improve visits as parents return from prison or treatment."

Visit coaching may be provided by caseworkers, foster parents, therapists, or others. Parents are prepared ahead of time to focus on addressing the needs of their children, and they are given guidance during the visit to build on their family strengths. The coach also helps parents evaluate the visit afterwards, so improvements can be ongoing.

There are four principles to visit coaching:

  • Empowerment—to build on family strengths
  • Empathy—to support families in meeting the unique needs of their children
  • Responsiveness—to help families manage the conflict between adult and child needs
  • Active parenting—to help families learn how their children's behavior is shaped by their own actions and words

The article Visit Coaching is available on the CFF website: ( 72 - KB)