Working Together with Primary Families
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A child in care has two families: the primary and the foster family. Research has shown that when these families work together, the child's confusion and anxiety are decreased and the likelihood of reunification increases. Nonjudgmental and respectful communication can be challenging, especially when histories and backgrounds differ or when abuse and neglect are part of the child's past. This course offers foster parents strategies for developing positive communication with and understanding of the primary family.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • define "primary family"
  • describe the importance of the foster family's relationship with the primary family
  • describe the benefits and challenges of shared parenting
  • state the role of the child protection team
  • identify typical issues that bring primary families to the court system
  • give examples of grief and ambiguous loss
  • understand the role of empathy in foster care
It can be difficult and challenging for the foster parent(s) of an infant child to internalize the necessity for bonding especially when the birth family lives at a distance. I have lived through having this experience to accept and trust that the measures and efforts of (re)unification are thought out and worked through to ensure the best options and decisions for the child. Yes, for the foster parent(s) it is scary. Even with limited shared parenting exchanges and times to visit, foster parents and primary must (in the unknown) find it in their hearts to work together towards minimizing and eliminating fear and anxiety that will allow the child to sense the love, peace, and security during the transition process and ultimate placement.
Frances F.

This course examines the relationship between primary and foster families including:

  • primary families

  • shared parenting

  • grief and ambiguous loss

(4 credit hours, $20.00 per person)