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Dirk Schäfer, University of Siegen

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Factor birth parents. Special perspective on foster care

 About the perspective of parents („birth parents“) there is only a small body of knowledge. But parents are and will be important and influential protagonists for success of foster care relationships. We work that out in two qualitative studies, which consider among other things the experience of parents.

To secure a convenient developement of children, it makes sense
•    to consider the parents and their perspective
•    as well as to develop and to exercise practical concepts for cooperation with parents.

Because of that we introduce on the basis of selected original statements of the interviewed parents our interpretations on the following topics:

•    Transparent clarification of perspective with parents
             (To enlarge skills of upbringing and / or to develop alternative role of parentship;  
              an open communication of mutual expectations; avoiding of double-bind
•    Participation of parents
             (Possibilities and boundaries for development constructiv action strategies)
•    Attitude towards parents
             (Recognition and contact at eye level or principally view of „forfeited
•    Support for parents over the whole process
             (Keyposition inception of help)
•    Quality of the relationship between parents and foster parents is a constructable factor of success

Although a lot of these facts are known already longer than ten years in Germany, development of the range of cooperation with parents is really slow. A stimulating exchange with international colleagues could be enlightening for the advancement of research and practice. Particularly in reference to the question: How to reach them?

Key words: birth family, birth parents, development of foster care