Practice Guide

Children need families, even when those families aren’t perfect. Putting a child into foster care disrupts the parent/child relationship which can deeply affect identity, trust and self-esteem. But sometimes it’s necessary. While past practice has been to discourage interaction between birth and foster parents, new thinking shows building alliances between birth and foster families can be crucial to the well-being of the child. The Foundation created this step-by-step practice guide with several appendices to help child welfare agencies understand Icebreaker family meetings and shift into "parent partner" mode.

View the complete Icebreaker toolkit with appendices and instructional video

January 1, 2012

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    The importance of the Icebreaker family meeting for the welfare of the child.

  2. 2

    What the Icebreaker meeting should accomplish between birth and foster parents.

  3. 3

    How to incorporate the Icebreaker "parent partner" protocol into the agency culture.

  4. 4

    The 5 workgroups needed to ensure Icebreaker inclusion throughout the agency.

  1. 5

    How to plan, structure and facilitate a successful Icebreaker meeting, including sample documents and tip sheets.

  2. 6

    How to mitigate barriers and roadblocks connected to the Icebreaker meeting process.

Key Takeaway

The Icebreaker is a facilitated conversation between birth and resource parents.

Agencies need relationship-building elements so that children and their birth, extended and foster families feel safe and respected enough to solve problems together.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations