Episode 112 – Opening Up to Birth Parents

Many foster parents draw firm boundaries between themselves and their foster children’s birth parents. But is this right? In this interview with Saint Fults, a social worker in St. Louis, Missouri, we learn of another perspective of openness toward birth family relationships from the beginning of the child’s placement.

Fults advocates that foster parents should consider opening their lives more fully to birth families, including hosting visits in the foster home.

The perspective challenged us to think about what is truly best for the children in our care, and how a higher degree of openness in foster care might better set up birth families for successful reunification.

21 responses to “Episode 112 – Opening Up to Birth Parents”

  1. Hi Great podcast. I did have a hard time listening to the whole thing. We have only had three longer placements. None of them would have been safe to have to our home. So I was arguing in my head with him the whole time. But I loved the way you ended it. I do wish we could do something like he talks about because I know that would make it easier when the child is reunfied. But then we have never had a child go back to a birthparent. It has always been to a relative.

  2. Thanks for a thought-provoking post. It was very timely for us, and I listened to it while driving to court for our foster son’s 6 month permanency hearing. We have a good relationship with his birth parents, and are most likely within a few weeks of reunification. I constantly struggle with what boundaries to keep with them…I fear they may not succeed in their parenting of “our” little boy if someone does not come alongside them and help them, 1-1. I desire safety and security for the little boy I’ve grown to love, so it behooves me to do whatever I can to help his parents succeed. I do however have some logistical questions for Saint: We have two “loin” children (2 and 5 years) who have minimal understanding of our foster son’s situation…so I’m wondering what hosting the birth parent’s would be like for them? Also, we live a solid hour from the birth parents, and they don’t drive so logistics would be tricky. (I guess that’s not really a question 🙂 Last, the community-based program Saint described sounds alot like Safe Families. Safe Families is an inter-church foster care system designed to prevent need for the state-run foster care system. There is a pilot program in our area, and it sounds very promising! Safe Families has programs throughout the country, and I think their success rates are excellent. Check them out at: http://www.safe-families.org/

  3. While I was listening to this episode, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I have been a foster parent for several years and while I respect Mr. Fults for sharing his experiences, my experiences couldn’t be more opposite from what he is describing. I am very concerned that new foster parents listening to this might put themselves or their foster children in some very dangerous situations.
    I was shocked that he said that birth parents are likely to not be abusers or to be dangerous to the child. What! Where I live and foster, the reason these kids are in my home is because they are not safe with their birth families. I have had birth parents who are criminals, drug addicts, child abusers, murders and gang members. Many times I did not know this information early on. Many dangerous people can seem nice when you meet them and social workers are required to keep alot of birth family information confidential. I have done some of what Mr Fults is suggesting. I almost always supervise visits for my foster kids. I have gone to some birth parents homes and we often go out for meals. I am friendly and nice. I am available to them by phone whenever they need. I have had an ongoing relationship with many families after reunification. BUT, I do not ever give out my address or identifying information, and I have been so glad for that over the years. If you are a foster parent remember, your #1 goal is to PROTECT THE CHILD and provide a SAFE HOME.
    I have known someone to run with a child to another state prior to the TDM meeting. I have had birth parents show up high to visits, bring a gang member boyfriend who just got out of jail (that day), or do a visit with their child while they were on the run from police for committing a violent crime. I have a friend who had to call 911 during a visit. Pretty much the exact opposite from what he is describing, and these parents don’t have “I am dangerous” written on their foreheads when you first meet them. Like T and W said, of the woman who tried to kidnap her child, no one knew how crazy that woman could get until…..
    At the time of reunification, many foster parents I’ve known loosen boundaries and invite birth families to their home. I would not recommend this because I’ve had a foster child come back after a failed reunification.
    If you can mentor the birth parent while you are supervising visits that is great, but please do not feel that you need to compromise your safety or the child’s safety to have a good working relationship with their families. Okay, I’m taking a deep breath now!

  4. Great responses! I hope those commenting are continuing to read this page and would like to continue to dialog. Here are some of my replies:

    Mary – Addressing the concept of birth parents with your “loin” children is definitely a challenge. I’m assuming they understand that the foster child in your home came from somewhere and that he has family from somewhere. Working from that explanation is probably the best start. Of course, explaining “fostering” to small children can be a tricky concept, but starting with relating a foster child to his biological parents is a good start.
    In talking about hosting biological parents, there are always issues that come into play for each situation. With an hour+ drive, time can be a problem. I would suggest looking at what works best for both of you in terms of meeting together. The principle behind the hosting is one of mentorship and invested connection. That may mean that phone calls are more appropriate (with boundaries of course). That may mean you can’t meet as often, but maybe meet for longer periods of time. The point is to get involved, help them to be the best parents they can be, and keep a connection with them.
    The program I was referring to comes form the Family to Family initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It is based within child welfare agencies. http://www.aecf.org/majorinitiatives/family%20to%20family.aspx
    I do know about Safe Families (they have just opened in St. Louis) and I am a huge fan. They have been very helpful with our child abuse investigators in finding safe, short term options for children in crisis situations. I would encourage you to read more about Family to Family and the programs it uses. We have found them to be monumentally helpful.

    In response to Jana, I appreciate the work that you are doing. In supervising visits, visiting in parent’s homes and eating together. Those are fantastic processes that help toward reunification. That is truly a great job and please keep up the good work. I want to reply with, perhaps, some challenging thoughts. We don’t have to agree, but I’d love to dialogue more.
    To begin, hiding identifying information from birth parents is really an exercise in futility. As a foster parent, you are a vendor with the state you work with and as such that information is publicly available at any time. In a simpler version, most of your information is available via Google anyway. I’m sure you know that social work has its problems, as does any profession, but that type of information is released all to often to various parties and does end up in the hands of parents often. Your information is given to judges, attorneys, GALs, DJOs, social workers, doctors, teachers, and on and on. Don’t think that this is top secret work. It’s not. The concept of PROTECT THE CHILD and SAFE HOME are a little misconstrued. A foster home is not meant to be a prison or a fortress. A child who is in foster care needs a place to live that is free from the immediate threat of safety to their well being. They’re not housed in castles, fortresses, or surrounded by armed guards. They need a place to stay where people care for them, won’t physically abuse them, won’t mentally/emotionally abuse them and will love them as if they were their own child. I’m sorry to hear that you may have some bad experiences with parents, but please don’t mistake one or two occurrences for the majority of what is happening around you. The foster care world has a bad habit of making the plural of anecdote become data. Two stories do not a trend make. I would challenge you to work on breaking down some of the walls we put up between foster parents and birth parents. Again, I find it strange that we won’t share last names. What threat exists and what has happened to make that unsafe? I would challenge traditional thoughts and say that nothing has actually happened. We’re more worried about a “what if” scenario that has yet to actually occur. From a different perspective, we have social workers going into the homes of birth parents every day, knocking on doors and alleging child abuse, physically removing children from the homes of parents with the understanding that they’re professionals. Yet, we have much higher security and safety concerns for the people who are caring for the children temporarily. This just doesn’t make sense. Unless we are creating an adversarial model with the caretakers. I would make the case that by not sharing information, not collaborating with parents at the start, we are making an adversarial model of foster parenting. We’re starting off by saying, “You, birth parent, are not to be trusted. I am safe. I can have your children in my home (whom I have never met). But you cannot have any information about their whereabouts or who I am.” Again, this doesn’t make sense to me.
    I want to comment on some of what you said regarding parents. I think we can agree to disagree on what makes a parent “dangerous.” Being an addict does not make you a bad parent or a dangerous parent. It does make you a stupid parent, but not a bad parent. Many people have functioning addicts as parents. I happen to have one. Don’t mistake someone with an addiction, showing up high to a meeting as someone who is dangerous. That’s a bad misconception. Associating with criminals is not child abuse. Having a criminal record isn’t child abuse. People do stupid things. That does not mean they hurt children. I would challenge you to look at some of those preconceived notions about what a “dangerous person” is.
    My last comments are on the concept of parents as abusers. Children are removed from their homes because they cannot safely remain living there. Over 50% of the children who are taken into custody are for NEGLECT issues, the number one issue being lack of supervision, the number two issue being unsafe/unsanitary living conditions. That is NOT ABUSE. That is poor parenting, bad housekeeping, living in poverty, living in a slum… it is a lot of things but it is not abuse. 25% of kids enter foster care due to physical abuse. Most of those cases are related to physical discipline (I believe it’s near 80%). 25% of kids entering foster care are taken into custody for sexual abuse. Of those, over 50% of the abusers are NOT PARENTS. The number one perpetrator of sexual abuse is an extended family member. and the number two perpetrator of sexual abuse is a paramour (boyfriend/girlfriend). If you have an argument over any of these statistics, the best argument is for physical abuse. YET!!! 60% of the kids in foster care will be reunified with their parents. In my experience, most physical abuse cases involving discipline are due to a parent hitting their kids with an extension cord, belt, switch or other object and leaving marks/bruises on children. Most of those kids return home to their parents. So, we can continue to believe that parents are scary, child abusing people. Or we can look at what is actually the truth and what is actually happening in the foster care system. The facts are, most kids will return home because it is safe to do so. Most kids come into care for neglect. Of those that come in for abuse, sexually abused kids are usually not protected by parents as opposed to abused by them and kids physically abused by parents are usually the result of bad discipline techniques. Are these statistics that should cause us to fear parents? I hope not, because like it or not, those kids are going back to those homes with those same people. If they are going home, and they likely are, are we going to accept that their once/twice a month visit for 1-2 hours and their 6 week, 1 hour per week, parenting course is sufficient to solve those problems that existed. I don’t think so. Which is why I encourage people who are good parents, good enough to bring unknown children into their homes, to partner, mentor and teach the parents those children will return to.
    The statistics for child abuse and foster care can be found at your state’s child welfare website and also at the Administration for Children and Families website. I would encourage you to learn more about what child abuse and neglect actually is occurring where you live. I would venture to say it is much different than what you think.

    Above all, let me say, thank you for being a foster parent. We need more of you out there.

  5. Loved the interview. I so wish we would have been more open with “Molly” & “Tommy’s” birth mom while they were with us. I wish we would have asked more questions about her to our social worker. We really didn’t find out what we needed to know to make a wise assessment of her until four months in at court. It turned out, she did not at all live up the fears we had about her that we had created in our mind based on the very limited information we had. We were able to have a great relationship with her after that point but she missed the first four months of her baby’s life and four important months in the life of her daughter, only getting to see them one hour per week. Even if visits were not extended, we could have been in more communication with her at the very least.

    Obviously, you need to be wise and discerning and ask the right questions of your social worker but I agree – there is probably less to be feared in a lot of cases about birth parents.

  6. I have a question regarding the drug abuse comments that Saint made. Would you allow a visit to happen if the parent was high? That would have be one of my worries about having a parent to my home.

    I also stuggle with feeling like I am being bossy to a parent. We have supervised phone calls but stopped because of inappropriate behavior. I didn’t feel comfortable telling her how she can act. I was worried that she would resent my correction.

    I also want to echo that my experince has been more toward Jana’s experience. One father was a murderer and threatened to kill whoever had custody of his son. One mother was very unstable mentally and would have been the parent to take off with her child. While she didn’t physically abuse her child there was a chance that she would harm the child. She made incications of that. We did what we could to allow her to have contact. But I have yet be involved with a birth parent I would feel safe around my foster child, especially after I got to know them.

    I guess in the end I don’t base my decision on statistics. But on my experience with that parent.

  7. I agree that foster parents need to maintain a good relationship with birthparents an be as open as possible, but I do think that the “as possible” has limitations, and I feel that opening my home to a birthparent is an unreasonable expectation. I say this given my personal experience with birthparents of my adopted and foster children, as well as experiences that others I know have had. My home is my safe place, and my childrens’ safe place. In my experience thus far, there has been only one birth parent that I felt I knew enough about to feel safe with them in my home, and even in that instance I would have not allowed that because that would have opened the way for the physically abusive birth father to also come into my home. My birth parents have been involved (accused and some convicted) in activities that include burglary, drug related activities, domestic violence and child abuse. Saint you are correct – I don’t feel that they are all bad people; I feel they have made very bad choices and in some cases I feel very deeply for them because they weren’t give much of a chance to make good choices. And Saint you’re also correct that doing drugs itself doesn’t make you a dangerous person, but it increases your propensity to violence. Mixing certain drugs together can make you violent. Mixing a mental condition with drugs can make you violent. And so on. So to allow a birth parent who is or might be high to come into my home with all of my small children on the assumption that they *probably* aren’t “dangerous” or “violent” is insane and a risk that I certainly am not willing to take. And I love my social workers; they are worth their weight in gold. But I am not a social worker. I did not go to school for years to study behavior and development and social issues in order to earn a degree in social work. I do not go to work everyday as a social worker and receive a paycheck for doing social work. However, my social workers do. That is why they assume the duties and risks associated with being a social worker. Yes, there is and should be a distinction between foster parent and social worker. Finally, I take issue with the notion that it is wrong to act based on the fear of what might happen with a birth parent. Because once a dangerous or violent situation occurs, it can’t be undone. To be more specific, if I allowed the birthparent of my foster daughter, who is diagnosed as schizophrenic, bipolar and ODD and is abusing prescription medication as well as opiates have a visit at my home with his daughter, and something triggered a violent outburst and his daughter or any of my other children were injured, it wouldn’t matter that only “x” percentage of birth parents had ever gotten voilent at a foster parent’s house. It would have actually happened. Some risks are worth taking; that is not one of them.

  8. Just wanted to leave a note! Starting Jan 3 our home will be open to foster kids. I found you guys a couple of weeks ago and I am listening to as many pod casts as I can. While I know our journeys will be different, I find comfort in listening to your story. I’m on episode 44 and can’t wait to keep listening.

  9. Margaret – Great comments. I do agree with you that you need to set boundaries especially if it involves the abuse of drugs or alcohol. I, too, would have stopped a visit if a parent was intoxicated in any way. I think that is more than appropriate. More on my thoughts of drug abuse in my reply to Emily.

    Emily – You make some great points. If I gave the impression that we should open our homes to parents that are high, my apologies. The point I meant to make is that we label parents as “drug abusers” and then shut them out or create an adversarial relationship with them simply because they use drugs. That, I think is wrong. I do understand your concerns and your arguments are founded. But I think that the entirety of your reply goes to the heart of what we should be challenged to address. The child welfare system, as a whole, creates an “us” versus “them” relationship with birth parents from day one. This relationship permeates over to foster parents, who should 1) never be put in an adversarial role and 2) should be looked at as a benefit from both the state and from the birth parents. This “us” versus “them” mentality plays out in the fabrications we continue to support and believe. Can a mental disorder and drug abuse cause violence? Of course. Has it actually happened though? I think we are far too often erring on the side of caution and creating a worse environment for children and families. Whether we like it or support it, over half of the children in foster care are going back home to the birth parents. The same birth parents with mental disorders, with addiction problems, and with relatively low levels of new education and certainly less levels of actual parenting of their child. So, we don’t trust birth parents enough to allow them into our home (according to our stipulations) but they somehow end up “safe” enough to have their kids come back home? This doesn’t add up. I whole heartedly blame the system for creating this mess. But, a solution clearly lies with foster parents.

    We have several sites in my state that do this type of foster parenting, allowing birth parents into their homes. Yes, there are always risks when you open your life up to someone, especially someone who has had their child legally removed form them. I will tell you that in those areas that do that type of foster parenting, there are NO incidents between birth parents and foster parents. Why? I would venture to say its because the birth parent sees the foster parent as an ally and advocate in the system. Someone to trust and someone who is helping them in a hard situation.

    We need to change the model of what we are doing. You tell me which is better: a once a month visit at a McDonalds or a once a month visit in a home. The risks that foster parents are concerned about aren’t alleviated by visiting a new location. They’re exactly the same; they just happen to not be in your personal space. We can discuss at length the issues surrounding families in poverty and families of color and their run ins with the criminal justice system and the prevalence of addiction and narcotics in those environments. Yet, I think the main point we need to address is that birth parents are not dangerous. If they were dangerous, kids wouldn’t return home. Birth parents do have lots of issues. Mentally, emotionally, physical addictions, and environmentally. We can help some of those instances out, or we can keep them at arm’s length and send kids back into the fire (although a fire that is not as bad, per state regulations).

    From experience, from seeing this actually played out, I’m telling you this is a viable approach to foster parenting. It has to start on day one. Foster parents have to “partner” with birth parents from day one. You don’t have to have a birth parent sleep over within an hour of placement. You should venture into it gradually and carefully, setting appropriate boundaries and expectations. But, you should embrace the FAMILY of the child who lives with you. From day one. It works. Try it.

  10. T and W!
    Wow! I just listened to your podcast and coincidentally, we just had John’s (our foster child… Not his real name:) birth mother over to our home last night for a visit for the first time.

    We were just informed yesterday morning in a meeting with the Care Manager and The family therapist that they were recommending to the court unsupervised visits, so we thought it was time for her to have a visit in our home. It did work out well, but then we have had a good relationship with her since the beginning. So, we were not expecting any difficulties.

    I highly recommend getting to know the birth family and talking with them in the presence of the foster child. In our case, it completely eased John’s nerves. We purposely spoke of his mother (and to her) with positive, encouraging and supportive words. In the beginning, he would wet his pants and throw tantrums, but as time went on, after supervising visits and ph conversations it only got better. She was even able to give us tips on what discipline actions worked and what didn’t. We told her all the cute things he did/said and it really kept the bond between the two of them strong. She felt eased because she grew to trust us and John felt eased because he didn’t feel like we were the reason they were apart. She is also a part of his schooling and doctor visits. Also, when he gets in trouble and gets upset with us over discipline issues, I have him call his mom and she always calms him down. You can’t get that out of a book!!! And I have read a quite a few! LOL

    He still wets his pants on occasion, but now it’s from having fun and not wanting to miss out. UGH!

    Happy New Year!

  11. What a complex topic you have brought to the table, Tim and Wendy! I thought you did a great job in talking about your own feelings and concerns–you are such guiding lights of introspection. And you asked all the things I also wanted to know.

    I think that Saint and the foster parents with concerns are both coming from true places that can be very far apart. As someone inside the system, Saint is working towards reforms in how the system (including foster parents) views biological parents. I applaud that. The system, in many communities, has been the perpetrator of historical, wide-ranging injustices. Those are well-documented, and Saint’s statistics speak to them. As someone who has written for the foster care system in my own community, I have seen how cumbersome the bureaucratic system can be, how much it can lose sight of the human beings it serves, and hard how it can be to change its course. I’m grateful that people like Saint are looking at things in fresh ways and hope they can make a lasting change. It makes sense to me that biological parents and their children can benefit from good relationships with foster parents.

    I also think the foster parents replying here have very legitimate concerns. We are kin-caregivers to a teenager we had known for many years prior to his removal from his home. He has a meth-addicted, mentally ill, hoarding father who has assaulted his wife for years (she seems to have battered wife syndrome and has stated many times that she is choosing him over her three children). This guy is scary. The parents knew where we lived and although we are a confidential placement, they guessed the obvious, that we are the ones who have their youngest child (the other two are in college). We have definitely worried about safety. When we lived in our old house (an address they’d been to) I had a mental escape plan in case the dad showed up. When he was arrested on child abuse charges, the $200,000 bail was some comfort (wife bailed him out). Then we coincidentally moved 100 miles away, and I have made every effort to keep our new address offline. So far, so good. These are not people who are safe, or changing–this behavior has gone on for many years. Their three children want no contact. So…long way to say: I get why foster parents are leery. I am too. Maybe in some other dynamic, but not this one, could we open our homes to biological parents. Our dynamic involves stay-away orders and escape plans.

  12. I would love to hear some of the stories of foster-families that Saint describes in St. Louis. I agree that the way the system seems to be setting up automatically adversarial relationships from the beginning. When we had a foster-child that had family visits, it really eased the feeling in the room whenever there happened to be a 3rd neutral party there. I also felt the pull to want to reach out to our foster-childs parents, but didn’t have much information to know if that would be a wise decision. I’m curious Saint, if you feel that foster-parents are in a particularly beneficial position to be mentors to birth-parents, or would it be better if there were people specifically volunteering to mentor birth-parents?

  13. While in the system either I or my wife:
    -were attacked physically by the parent of our (now adopted) son
    -had our vehicle attacked by a parent with a baseball bat during a visit in a public place
    -were verbally assaulted WHILE WAITING TO ENTER COURT by a parent (we stopped going to court)
    -were threatened by multiple birth parents during visits
    -had our personal information divulged by careless social workers to two of the above parents
    None of these incidents made the news (but neither did the death of one of our foster children at the hands of another foster family; another story). The ‘Child Welfare’ system does a great job of making sure that a good deal of what goes on in foster care never makes the news!
    This social worker, like many I’ve encountered, is naive (at best).

  14. Another touching episode. Thank you guys so much for doing this podcast! It’s been so helpful for my husband and I as we enter the world of foster parenting. I know this is off subject to this particular podcast episode but it has been giving us second thoughts about the foster/adopt process. We are going through foster classes in South Dakota. ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) plays a huge role in foster/adopt here especially recently in the news. Do you guys have any information about ICWA that you might be able to share? How does ICWA affect the adoption process?

    Again thank you guys so much for making this podcast and God bless!

  15. I really, really struggle with this. We have biological children in the home and are very interested in protecting their interests as well. Thank you for posting this!

  16. These are all great points. My husband and I just became foster parents and we love these podcasts – thank you. We do find that there are not that many foster-adoption blogs out there, so we came up with our own in an attempt to educate, promote and bring awareness to others. We had two little ones placed in our home three weeks ago and they just got reunited with their mother. There were lots of mixed emotions, but we do find that being open to the birth parents is a great way to minister to them. Of course, there needs to be clear boundaries. Anyhow, we’ll see how the next placement goes.

  17. Wow – I listened to this podcast weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about it. Then tonight I read article upon article of evidence that kids do better when left with parents who are “in the middle” of the spectrum of neglect, than removed and placed in foster care. As a foster parent of 2 years, it has given me much to chew on. I have had a good relationship with the parents all my long-term foster kids, to the extend that my current kids Mom called me last night just to say hi to me, saying she just wanted to chat. However, with my newest placement (here 2 weeks), I have only had one 2 minute conversation with her mom and no phone calls at all. … Tomorrow I am going to see if its okay for me to call her and open the phone call door a bit… so much to think about. How do we actually help kids and families!?!

  18. I recently found this pod cast and had mixed feelings regarding the recommendations.

    I do agree with points on both sides. Yes the “state run foster care” system does immediately create a “us vs them” position between the foster and birth parents, there are social workers that are naive, appear uncaring, the system does appear to forget that foster children are “human beings” etc etc…

    I would have preferred more emphasis on the fact that the circumstances of each placement situation is different and as a foster parent you have to evaluate what would be best for the child and at the same time that would not put yourself at risk (ie. family, home, etc…). A foster parent has to evaluate each placement, gather as much information as possible upfront and obviously while the child is with you, also establish a relationship with the law guardian keeping them abreast of significant events in the child’s life – sometimes they don’t get all the information from the agency. One recommendation is after a placement is made the case worker should organize a meet and greet first between the birth parent and foster parent (assuming at least one of the biological parents are still in the picture). then use that as a gauge if other communication is warranted i.e. hosting visits( a lot of foster parents work so this may be difficult during the work day), establishing outside communication etc..

    In regards to our story we are foster to adopt parents that have two children 3 and now 1 both from the same birth mother. The 3 year old is in “adoption” while the 1 year old is still in “reunification”. We have had both children for a little over a year and they were placed 2 weeks apart. The baby placed with us at 5 days old straight from the hospital. The birth mother was forced by the court to establish communication with us for the sake of the 3 year old who was asking to call her during non-visit days. She initially refused. We speak now, I am very pleasant towards her, we have gone out to dinner, invited her to accompany us to various child themed places i.e. museums, ice skating and invited her to the 3 year olds bday party at chuck e cheese. She even called me to let me know she was expecting again stating she was not going to make the same mistakes as with the first two. Despite all of that I would never let her know what town I live in, daycare the children attend or let alone invite her to my house. She has never been verbally abusive to us and has been fairly respectful but despite all of that we do not trust her. As to one of the points in earlier posts, birth parent can present themselves in one way but be totally the opposite. In our situation the BM constantly berates us ( court, during visits, quarterly nurses visits) , complains to the case worker about every little thing she does not find acceptable (ex. why are we feeding the baby organic food?), known associates are criminals and gang bangers etc…. Because of the level of distrust we do not have a “Pollyanna” outlook in this situation and cannot take any chances that may put the children or ourselves at risk.

    Not all birth parents are receptive to participation in visits in general which in our case was not surprising given we are really adoptive parents. Our children have different fathers but the birth mother does attend regularly weekly visits with the children. The one time I attempted to attend and this is after a “relationship” was established, she did not want me there. Later the birth mother apologized and stated she wanted to spend time with the children herself (the visits are supervised by a Division worker).

    My point is the birth parent(s)may not always want the foster parent around….

  19. As a foster parent, I find this current practice of making foster parents resources for biological families dangerous and confusing. The reality is that children are not removed from homes because their parent(s) have a little trouble parenting. These are often people with major issues, including mental illness, drug addiction, domestic violence, and criminal activity. While you paint a nice picture here, the reality is that it puts the foster parent is a precarious and potentially dangerous position. It is also confusing for the children as the parenting ideas and lifestyles are so divergent and are often in complete conflict with each other.

    This has been advocated in my state for several years now, and the results have been dismal. The social workers and foster parents I know who have been involved in the resource practice have realized that it often allows biological parent(s) not to parent but still keep their children as they are getting so much assistance from foster families they don’t have to function. Once the foster family breaks the ties because they realize they are being used for economic gain or physical comfort, the children ALWAYS end up back in care shortly thereafter.

    It is a wonderful theory that doesn’t hold much validity in practice. It starts with the premise that most biological parents want to do the right thing and be there for their children in the best possible way. If that were the case, most would not have had their children taken by the state in the first place.

  20. Dude talking about how cool and nice the bio parents are and how it isn’t abuse but neglect that gets kids removed from homes. Come back to reality you liberal scum. Bio parents are usually on drugs. Bio parents are choosing to neglect kids. You talk about neglect as if it isn’t a bad thing.

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