5, No. 4
Visitation can be a place where the
system breaks down. Birth parents may have little understanding
of how important frequent and successful visits are to their children,
DSS, and the courts. As a result, they may permanently lose custody
of their kids, who themselves may experience long foster care stays.
Foster parents, too,
may not fully understand the importance of visits, or they may feel
unprepared to help children afterwards. Feeling unsupported, they
may even quit fostering.
Yet the opposite can
happen. Trained, committed foster parents can reassure birth parents
and foster children. Guided by social workers and motivated by a
clear understanding of the consequences, birth parents can demonstrate
improvements during frequent visits with their kids. As a result,
children can be returned sooner to safer, healthier families.
Visits are a critical
part of child welfare, a part clearly related to our goals of stable
foster care placements and timely, permanent outcomes for children.
We hope this issue of
Practice Notes helps you, as a child welfare social worker,
use your significant influence to make the most of parent-child
Additional resources related to this topic: