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  • May 2017
  • Vol. 18, No. 3

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A Guide for Foster Parents on Family Visits

Family visits help maintain strong family connections, and foster parents play and important role in facilitating these strong connections. When children in foster care have regular and frequent contact with their birth families, they experience shorter placements, less reentry into foster care, more successful reunification, and improved emotional well-being. A guide using information collected through interviews with foster parents, social workers, children, and birth parents aims to help foster parents understand how to be a strong resource for children and their birth families.

Family Connect: Putting the Pieces of Family Visits Together: A Guide for Foster Parents highlights typical reactions children and parents may have before and after visits, how to relate effectively with birth parents, and strategies in preparing and transitioning children to and from family visits. Foster parents identified children's transition from family visits back to the foster home as the most challenging aspect of visitation. The guide offers a transition check list to help foster parents understand their own feelings about family visits as well as how the children in their care may feel after a visit.

Other tips in the guide include establishing a “goodbye” ritual before leaving a child with his or her birth parent. The ritual can include blowing a kiss, a high five, or another exchange that serves as a signal to the child that the foster parent is leaving but will be back when the family time is over.

To read more about facilitating successful and smooth family visits, go to http://cascw.umn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SampleFosterParentGuide.pdf (1,010 KB).

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