Icebreaker Meetings

A Tool for Building Relationships Between Birth and Foster Parents

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 1, 2012

Summary

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

Table of Contents

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