What can be more difficult, though, is another part of your role as a foster parent; Co-Parenting. When a foster parent shares the nurturing of a foster child alongside the birth parents and caseworker, reunification tends to happen at a quicker and more successful rate. Co-Parenting sees you, as a foster parent, working alongside the biological parents of the child living under your roof, and with your family. This may be the more difficult part of your job. To begin with, these may be the people who abused or neglected your foster child. Helping them might just be the last thing you wish to do. Therefore, it is important that you do not prejudge them before you meet them. Indeed, your first inclination may be that these are people who do not deserve to have their child back. What is important to consider, though, is that many biological parents of foster children were abused themselves, and know of no other way when raising children. Also disturbing is that some birth parents were foster children, as well, and are just repeating the cycle they went through as a child. Certainly, there are reasons why their children are in care that we may never understand. What is best for your foster child, though, is that you work alongside your caseworker, as well as the birth parents, and try to determine what is best for your foster child’s future, as well as how to best meet his needs in the present.
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It might not always be easy. It might not always be pleasant. Yet, your role as a foster parent is not only to help the children in need, but also work towards reunification. This means, as you know, the reunifying of the child with his family. Does this always happen? No. Should it always happen? Well, I have seen occasions where the child was placed in harm when returning to his family and to his home, and with him being better off with another family. A tragedy on many levels.
As foster parents, we have the opportunity to help bring families together, to help children heal, and to help biological family members be better parents and care takers. Through our actions and our words, through our questions and our answers, and through our compassion and patience, we can help in the healing process for all involved. As a foster parent, you are a role model not only for the child, but for his parents; not only for your friends and family, but for society. As a foster parent, you have the ability to give words of comfort and love to both the child and his family. As a foster parent, you can teach life lessons and help both child and parent learn new skills. What a great opportunity, and at the same time, a big responsibility. I know you are up to the task! I know you will do a great job!
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