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Fostering Contact with Birth Parents

As a foster parent, you open your life and your home to care and support vulnerable children or young people. Just like a birth, step or adoptive parent, a foster parent creates a safe and nurturing family home for children to settle, grow and thrive. Children (under 18-years-old) are placed with foster parents for all sorts of different reasons. Some may only be with you for a short time, while others remain with you in long-term foster care. Where appropriate, fostering contact with birth parents plays an important aspect of the fostering role.  

What is long-term foster care? 

Before we explore contact with the birth parents, we need to explore the definition of long term. In fostering, the definition of long term may differ significantly from what a lay person may consider to be long term. Additionally, the term long term fostering can sometimes differ according to location. For example, in Wales, long-term foster care has a formal status within the All Wales fostering framework; it refers to the positive expectation that the child stays with a fostering family once placed, until they are ready to leave the care system and live independently. 

Fostering contact with birth families 

There are many reasons why a child is placed into long-term foster care, but unless a legal adoption takes place, the birth parents still have parental responsibility for their child and therefore have a say in their upbringing. 

Fostering contact with birth families for children in Long Term placements is encouraged; but only if it’s in the best interest of a child.  

Rules around contact with birth parents, in addition to wider foster care rules and regulations can feel like a lot to understand and manage– but you will never do this alone. Each fostering family with Family Fostering Partners has a dedicated a Link Worker to support you, to support the child in your care, and to support your family.  

Contact with the birth family is usually part of a court directive and thus will be agreed to occur at specific periods or frequencies. As with all aspects of a child’s placement with a foster family, it is supported by a wider team of Local Authority representatives and social workers, always with the child's best interests at heart. Click here to read more about contact with birth parents, foster care planning, and working with birth families.

Joining a foster family can be a confusing and upsetting experience for a child, regardless of their age; leaving the family home and the familiarity found there can be further upheaval in what might already be an uncertain time. This makes fostering contact with birth families, where appropriate, so important.  

The right to love and be loved 

Looked after children and young people have a right to love and be loved; a successful long-term foster care placement provides the stability, security and love they need to develop and grow into adulthood. Being a foster parent isn't always easy, but it is a positive and enriching role. Family Fostering Partners experts in matching children and young people in Wales with loving foster carers and supporting them on that journey. 

If you are ready to take the first steps to become a foster parent, why not book an appointment for us to get in touch with you at a time to suit you?  Click on this link here to go to our "Contact Us" page.

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