Connecting foster parents, biological parents now a key focus for some state agencies

Having a child placed in foster care can be an alarming, embarrassing and painful experience to parents who’ve lost custody. While this is done as a means of protecting the best interests of the child, it still creates a difficult situation for both sides — including the foster parents who must handle the emotional struggles of children removed from their parents.

To illustrate, biological parents might be fearful of how these strangers will influence their children’s thoughts on such topics as morality, religion and even how they think of them. This situation becomes even scarier when biological parents do not have any access to their children, or even to the foster parents.

Interestingly, some state agencies are now trying to rectify this situation by establishing a direct line of communication between foster and biological parents. To that end, several states have adopted measures that help foster parents ensure that the children placed in their care are still being raised according to the wishes of the birth parents.

In addition, some states have even begun providing mentorship and/or legal representation to birth parents seeking to address the issues that led to the removal of their children from their custody.

Many experts agree that this is a valuable effort with tangible long-term benefits, since many foster children do eventually return to the care of their biological parents.

In general, the level of interaction between foster and biological parents is determined by judges and caseworkers, and can vary depending on the circumstances leading to the removal of children from their home. In instances of abuse, for example, birth parents are usually prohibited from developing a relationship with the foster family.

Establishing this relationship between parent and foster parent is a broad departure from the attitudes of the past, but many state officials believe it is the best thing to do.

“We were prohibited by courts from helping families that we knew older youth were re-establishing contact with (biological parents) … it was only right that we look for ways to build a better bridge between an older youth and the family that had brought them into this world,” said one official.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Houston Chronicle, “Agencies work to unite foster, biological parents,” Kelli Kennedy, Oct. 25, 2012