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.
The Icebreaker is a facilitated conversation between birth and resource parents.
Findings & Stats
Agencies that have adopted the Icebreaker protocols describe the process as more of a marathon than a sprint.
Safety for all those who are involved in an Icebreaker meeting is paramount.
Icebreakers are designed to help ease the transition of a child into a resource family home.
Icebreaker meetings are just one of many ways an agency can focus on supporting children and families.
Statements & Quotations
When it comes to informing people about Icebreakers, the more the better. This not only includes agency staff but also foster parents, birth parents, private foster care agencies, community partners, guardians ad litem, CASAs, judges, and others in the greater community.
It may be helpful to include your agency’s public information officer or the staff member responsible for news releases about your Icebreaker work group, so that you can gain their assistance in telling the story of Icebreakers in building alliances between birth and foster families.
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