Managing contact between foster children and their birth families can be positive, but it can also be challenging and emotionally complex for all parties involved. It may leave your foster child feeling sad, lost, and rejected.
The 1989 children act requires that local authorities encourage and support contact between foster children and their birth families. However, it must be in the child’s best interest.
A child’s social worker liaises with birth families to arrange, manage and plan the visit. A social worker may request you as a foster parent to supervise the visit depending on how you relate with the birth family.
Types of Contact
The contact is any interaction between the foster child and their birth family. There are various kinds of contact with birth families in foster care. They include;
- Supervised contact
- Supervised community contact
- Unsupervised contact
- Telephone (Can be supervised or unsupervised)
- Ad hoc and unsupervised contact is for older children in foster care.
Maintaining contact with the birth family can do a lot of good for foster children. As a foster parent, you need to support your foster child through this challenging process as it helps your child to;
- Feel a sense of belonging, identity, and stability
- Maintain a healthy relationship with their families
- Prepare for when they reunite with their families
- Grieve the loss they feel due to separation
- Develop resilience
Ways You Can Support Birth Family Contact as a Foster Parent
The most important thing you can do as a foster parent is to provide a safe place where your foster children can always return. You can also help by;
- Not criticizing or judging their birth parents even if they don’t show up for a visit
- Understand that it is a complicated process and find ways to help the child settle after a visit.
- Try to maintain their routine during the visit, especially for young children.