Vol. 15, No. 1 November 2010
Parent-Child Visits: Managing the Challenges, Reaping the Rewards
After she entered foster care, Donisha learned she would have regular visits with her family. She says that to her:
Donisha’s reaction is easy to understand. It can be wonderful to spend time with someone you love after a separation.
Yet visits can also be extremely difficult for everyone involved. If you are a foster and kinship care provider, you know this well. When a visit occurs, it is sometimes accompanied by visit-related upheaval in the child’s emotions and behavior, complex scheduling and logistics, and other challenges.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make parent-child visits easier for yourself and the children in your care. First, however, it helps to understand why visits are so important.
Understanding the Rewards
Research also tells us that how frequently parents and children see each other makes a big difference. Children who are visited often by their birth parents are more likely to be reunited and spend less time in foster care (White, et al., 1996; Mech, 1985).
Frequent visits also affect children’s well-being. Children visited frequently by their parents may be:
One study showed that children visited at least once every two weeks had fewer behavioral problems and exhibited less anxiety and depression than children visited infrequently or not at all (White, et al., 1996).
By helping improve children’s behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning, visits can help make foster care placements happier and more stable, which is a good thing for children and foster parents.
Managing Children’s Behavior Changes
Copyright © 2010 Jordan Institute for Families