- Provide easier transitions into foster care
- Make it faster and more likely for families to be reunited
- Support child and family wellbeing
- Strengthen relationships
- Increase caregiver and parent engagement
- Parent – Parent of a child who is currently in foster care
- Caregiver – Foster parent or relative caring for the parent’s child while experiencing foster care
- Parent Ally – A parent who has successfully navigated the child welfare system and can coach other parents involved in child welfare through the steps to reunify with their child
- Caregiver Mentor – Current or former foster parent who has had relationships with parents while fostering children
How It Works
Step one: Parents and caregivers each work with a peer mentor through the process. Parents are matched with a Parent Ally. Caregivers are matched with a Caregiver Mentor.
Step two: Parents and caregivers talk with their mentors in preparation for the first Connections Meeting
Step three: The Parent Ally and Caregiver Mentor work together to lead a Connections Meeting where the parent and caregiver will meet for the first time. This discussion will include:
- Introductions and information about each other/each other’s family
- Update on child/ren (from the caregiver to the parent)
- Information about the child’s routine (from the parent to the caregiver)
- Information about what the child dislikes and likes (from the parent to the caregiver)
- Family traditions and culture
- Plan for communication and relationship building
Step four: Parents and caregivers talk with their mentors after the initial meeting to receive additional support.
Interested in Participating?
The Family Connections Program is currently being piloted in King County’s Family Treatment Court. We hope to expand to three additional counties this year. For more information about the program or to get started, visit www.fcpwa.org or email email@example.com. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a referral. If you’d like to share our Family Connections videos and guide a discussion about the importance of relationship building between parents and foster parents, please download our Family Connections Discussion Guide. You can find and screen our videos, on our YouTube page.
The Family Connections Program was created through collaboration among parents, caregivers (relatives, suitable adults/fictive kin, and foster & adoptive parents), Amara, Olive Crest, King County CASA, DCYF Child Welfare field and support staff, Parent Allies, The Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, Fostering Connections for Families LLC, and staff from various Early Intervention agencies with CHERISH programs in King County; as members of the Child Welfare Community Connections Advisory Panel (CWC-CAP) sponsored by CHERISH.
The Family Connections Program is based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Icebreaker Meetings (Icebreaker Meetings – The Annie E. Casey Foundation (aecf.org)).