One of the most challenging tasks in the role of foster parent is building the compassion and non-judgmental mindset that allows you to work effectively with primary parents.
“Primary parents” refers to parents who have been the subject of an allegation or an investigation resulting in some level of agency involvement. The child’s birth parents, families who have adopted the child, or relatives who have been taking care of the child are the primary parents. The investigation may or may not have included the removal of a child from the primary parents’ home. Reunification with the primary parent(s) will be the goal for the vast majority of cases, but sometimes the agency must find a permanent placement for the child with someone else.
Foster parents can understand the things that the children feel when they experience the loss of the primary family and move into foster care. Pre-Service training will teach you about the grief cycle that the child goes through during transitions and in fact, the grief cycle that the foster parent will also go through as children move in and out of their homes.
It is also very important to remember that the primary families are also going through a grief process. This grief may get in the way of early interactions with the primary family. It is important to understand how they are feeling to build a positive on-going relationship between the foster and the primary family (see Understanding the Birth Parents’ Grief Process).
ASK FOR INPUT ON PARENTING ISSUES.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD DOES JOANNE LIKE?
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET HER TO SLEEP OR KEEP HER CALM?
ASK FOR ADVICE IN HANDLING BEHAVIORAL SITUATIONS?
CHECK OUR PREFERENCES ON HAIR CARE.
ASK WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE THEIR CHILD OR TEEN TO CALL YOU.
COMPLIMENT THEIR CHILD AND THE PRIMARY PARENT’S CONTRIBUTION TO HIS STRENGTHS.
In those cases when reunification is not possible, the resource family may be asked to become the child’s adoptive family. Many resource families assist their children by maintain some level of openness with their primary family even following an adoption.