Vol. 15, No. 1 • November 2010

A Tool for Enhancing Visits: The “Happy Pack”

To help make parent-child visits more meaningful, foster parents can provide a backpack or bag the child can use to share with their parents those special things that have happened since the last visit. Between visits the child can be encouraged to put things into the “Happy Pack” that he or she is excited to share with their parents. Examples of what might be in a pack:

  • A favorite book
  • A note that captures something cute or funny the child has said
  • New words the child is saying, if it’s a younger child
  • A picture the child drew or colored
  • A note from the child’s teacher or an assignment the child is proud of
  • A snapshot of the child doing a favorite activity
  • A letter the child has written to his or her parents

Whenever something comes up that children may want to share with their parents, encourage them to put it into their Happy Pack. This gives parents a place to start their visits—it lets them know what their child has been doing since the last visit. It also allows parents to feel more involved in their child’s life. And the child will be very proud and excited to share their Happy Pack!

(Adapted from the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Assoc., n.d.).