Foster care as a support to families, not a substitute for parents
The theme of this issue of Fostering Perspectives is “foster care as a support for families, not a substitute for parents.” Foster care is intended to be a short-term intervention that strengthens parents’ protective capacities so they can safely care for their children. The goal is almost always for children and youth to return to their families.
One of the best tools we have for making this vision of foster care a reality is shared parenting, a practice in which resource parents cultivate positive, supportive relationships with birth parents.
True, shared parenting isn’t always easy. Parents naturally feel hurt and angry when their children are placed in foster care. Building rapport and trust with someone in this position can take time and require patience and persistence. But it’s worth it.
When resource and birth parents build relationships, birth parents have more opportunities to strengthen their ability to care safely for their children. The trauma of separation is reduced. Chances of reunification increase.
This issue of Fostering Perspectives is focused on providing resources and tools to help resource parents support families. In it you will find practical shared parenting tips and advice from foster and adoptive parents, kinship caregivers, birth parents, and other experts who know from experience that children and youth in foster care win when the adults in their lives work together for their benefit.
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