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Setting Parents Up for Success

Parents come to foster care agencies experiencing not only the trauma of losing their child but also the confusion of navigating a complex system. Parents must:
  • Keep track of appointments at multiple agencies and in court;
  • Understand the roles and expectations of professionals in their case;
  • Believe they can meet these expectations.
Research shows that stress affects our ability to plan ahead. You can use the TIPS and a “Welcome Packet” to offer parents information in small bites, help them plan, and build trust.

As a program director at Graham reported:

“My team started using the TIPS to show parents their rights. That helps build relationships because it doesn't seem like the agency is hiding something. When parents come in on the defensive, we give them the TIPS and see a change. They can calm down, and it's more of a conversation." 


Giving parents information both verbally and in writing makes it more likely that they’ll remember. Rise parent leaders suggest providing the following information in a folder at Transition Meetings:
What You Should Know About Visits or Making the Most of Visits
Visiting Do's and Don'ts provides basic information about what's expected and what's unacceptable in visits. A rights framework can build trust with parents.

A Time to Bond (on the back) offers positive guidance to make visits a real family time. In the first few weeks, this handout can help parents create nurturing routines. 

You can say, “This is written by other parents who have had children in foster care. Parents are sometimes worried about what to do during family time at the agency. Let’s go through it together.”

Appointment Calendar
You can introduce it by saying, “There’s so much going on right now that it is easy to forget your appointments. We can use this to keep on track.” You can help the parent put in all of the appointments and visiting times you know about.
Contact Information for Important People on Your Case
Include your contact information and your supervisor’s. If your agency has a parent advocate, include their information and introduce them. Also make sure parents know how to reach their attorneys.
Flyer for a Support Group
If your agency runs a parent support group—or you know about one in the community—offer this outlet for parents to speak about their struggles.
Copy of Rise Magazine
Parents can feel less alone by reading the stories of other parents. Our issue on isolation can be comforting.

Our booklet One Step at a Time also offers concrete guidance.
QUICK TIP: Visiting Room Do's & Don'ts

Agencies working with Rise have hung this poster in their visiting rooms. It can be printed and posted, or offered as a handout. Clear rules set parents up for success and help take a personal dynamic out of moments when families require correction. 
Copyright © 2017 Rise, All rights reserved.

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