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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Supporting visits between parents and children in foster care

Research has been telling us that children have a much higher chance of returning to parental care when there are frequent high quality visits with their parents. This is good news for the goals of family preservation and reunification. There is now a very useful, short guide to helping make those visits effective. It was published in April 2011: Family Visitation in Child Welfare Helping Children Cope with Separation while in Foster Care. This US publication has widespread value despite a few references to US legislation. The report highlights its purpose:

"Research shows (Weintraub, 2008) that children who have regular, frequent contact with their family while in foster care experience:
• A greater likelihood of reunification
• Shorter stays in out-of-home care
• Increased chances that the reunification will be lasting
• Overall improved emotional well being and positive adjustment to placement
In order to make the most of visits, families need to be prepared for the purpose of visits, what is expected during visits and how visits may change over time in length and frequency."

It provides practical steps to make these visits effective and shows how they can change to increase usefulness over time. The report can be accessed at:

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