Bridging the divide between the biological parent and foster parent

Kelli Kennedy’s story for the Associated Press illustrates the divide between biological parents and foster parents. In many cases, a child is removed from the biological parent’s care because of a drug or alcohol problem. Often these cases involve abuse or neglect allegations. Unfortunately, as Kennedy points out, the problems relate to conditions of poverty in the home.

That’s why it was heart-wrenching to read Kennedy’s account of a biological parent holding his infant son in the courtroom. The foster mother had entered the courtroom with her foster son and was immediately afraid of how the father might respond. Those fears vanished when she saw how the father held his son.

“It completely changed me and my perception of biological parents,” said the foster mother. “They are people who have made mistakes. They’re in this terrible situation and they’re afraid as well. The love this man had for his son really touched me.”

Bridging the Divide

The legal and social services systems are working to bridge what has been a long-running divide between foster and biological parents, who until recently have been encouraged to maintain their distance.

Here’s what appears to be the good news: programs in many states are encouraging communication between foster and biological parents. A biological parent, for instance, will probably want a say in how his or her child is being raised.

And, after all, many biological parents end up getting their children back home with them – which makes open communication all the more relevant.

Source: Agencies work to unite foster, biological parents