When Foster Parents and Birth Parents Partner, Children Benefit

When Foster Parents and Birth Parents Partner, Children Benefit

The most effective intervention we can provide children healing from trauma is strong, enduring relationships with caring adults. When foster parents and birth parents partner in the child's best interest, the child hears, "You're lovable; you matter and we care." The desired outcome is reunification and a lasting friendship between families.

Lead Foster Care Case Management Specialist Kendra Duncan began the process of developing a supportive relationship between a foster mom and a birth mom by holding an "icebreaker" conversation soon after the child was removed from the home. It was an exciting introduction – Linda*, the foster mother, speaks English, and Lucia*, the birth mother, speaks Spanish. Using Google translator, they were able to overcome language barriers and exchanged phone numbers. After this initial introduction, they kept in regular contact with each other, with Linda providing Lucia with updates and photos. Lucia was grateful to meet the person taking care of her infant son, Carlos*. Knowing he was in a safe home made all the difference at this difficult time. 

"This was the most successful icebreaker I've ever held," shared Linda. Lucia was equally as enthusiastic, saying, "My son is in good hands."

Linda has five biological children of her own under the age of 12. She and her husband have fostered children on and off for years and enjoyed her role in maintaining the relationship between Lucia and Carlos. Over the months he was in her care, they regularly visited Lucia and attended doctor appointments together. Lucia took the initiative to schedule all of them.

While Carlos was in Linda's care, Lucia cooked authentic food to share with Linda's family. She also provided clothes, baby food and diapers for her son. By doing so she felt closer to Carlos. 

Baby Carlos's health and wellbeing benefitted from the effort both parents put into the relationship. With Linda cheering on Lucia as she worked toward reunification, she completed her case plan and was reunited with her son six months after he was removed from her home. The "icebreaker" initiated the relationship and helped both parties remain calm and able to work together. According to Kendra, "Their relationship made my job way easier."

Both ladies are committed to Carlos's safety, happiness and the continued success of Lucia as she parents. This relationship grows each and every day, with a commitment from both parties to remain in each other's lives and share in the joy of watching Carlos grow.

They enjoy regular playdates and Linda makes it a point to stop by with clothes for Carlos. Reunification with birth parents is always the goal; establishing a firm foundation of partnering for a child's wellbeing is essential in achieving this goal.

Learn more about becoming a foster parent.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family.