With the support and needed services, many families can safely care for their children. Foster parents play a vital role in helping and nurturing a youth in need and supporting the families.
What is Shared Parenting?
Shared Parenting is a partnership between foster families and birth families of children in care. This partnership helps maintain important relationships and connections to a youth’s culture, routines and traditions.
Shared Parenting brings together the important people in the youth’s life – birth parents, foster parents and agency workers. Foster and birth parents are encouraged to support each other and share information about their children in care to lessen the stress of separation.
When does Shared Parenting Happen?
An initial meeting between the foster parents and birth parents must take place within 14 days of the youth being removed from their home.
Who is Required to Attend?
- Foster parents
- Social Worker
- Private agency worker, if applicable
Shared Parenting Topics to Consider
Participants are encouraged to discuss topics that will help the youth transition and adjust to the new home such as:
- Visitation Plan: How are visits outlined in the court order?
- School: What are the youth’s educational strengths and needs? How is the youth doing in school?
- Medical: Does the youth have any medical conditions? Does the youth take any medications?
- Meals: What foods or cereals does the youth like? Does the youth have any food allergies?
- Daily Routines: What does the youth do during the day?
- Bedtime Routines: What does the youth do to prepare for bed? Does the youth sleep with the light on or off?
- Activities: What are the sports or fitness activities the youth enjoys? What are the youth’s favorite toys?
- Behavior: Are there behavioral issues? How has the youth’s behavior been managed in the past?
- Discipline: How has the youth been disciplined? What did or did not work?
- Sibling relationships: What is the youth’s relationship with his or her siblings?
- Preferences: What are the youth’s likes and dislikes? Are there things that scare or frighten the youth?
What Happens Next?
Within the court order, foster families are encouraged to assist with supervising sibling and parent visits. If allowed, families should also have regular phone calls or video chats with the youth and be invited to the youth’s events. If birth families have concerns about visits or communication, they should speak to their assigned social worker.