In Part One, we talked about how foster parents are almost always seen in a favorable light. Parents should think about the fact that a large number of foster parents are in the system because they want to adopt children. More than likely, the foster parents who have your children are good people with good intentions, but their goals are contrary to yours. On average they are better educated, wealthier and have nicer homes than the families they are there to assist. And let’s face it, kids are adorable. Foster parents fall in love with the kids in their homes. Can you blame them for wanting yours?
The unspoken bias is against the parents. There is a need for bonding if you want to keep the case moving towards reunification. But how does a parent with limited parenting time make it happen? In my twenty-plus years of helping parents, I have learned a thing or two. Here are some tips for you:
· Avoid confrontations. Every confrontation with a foster care worker or parenting supervisor during a parenting time is a setback that you are going to be blamed for. If you are having your parenting time interrupted, talk to your attorney about how to put an end to that.
· Be early. You should never show up on time or late to parenting time. Being a few minutes early sends a message that this is the most important thing in your life.
· Come prepared. A supervised parenting time session is something you prepare for. It is not a casual affair that you drop in on. Plan it out, bring what you need to make it a success.
· Know the rules. Talk to your caseworker about the do’s and don’ts. Rather than fight against the rules, find a way to make it work.
· Ask for advice. Caseworkers love to give advice, so take advantage of that. Ask, “How do you think that went?” “What could I have done better.” What suggestions do you have for me?”
Remember, you may show up at a termination trial someday. It is going to be a problem if the testimony is that the child is not bonded with you but is bonded with the foster parent.
Cronkright Law offers help to Michigan parents. We offer free phone evaluations to parents who are considering hiring an attorney. Call us today.