Mentoring Birth Parents
When appropriate, birth parents are actively engaged with their children chances for reunification. Our foster caregivers provide role modeling and support to birth parents whenever possible.
There is a definite commitment to birth parent involvement. NTF is one of the only programs in the country recognized for positive program outcomes that keep siblings together and employ professional foster caregivers who are committed to building a supportive and mentoring relationship with the birth parents. This commitment includes modeling appropriate parenting behavior and assisting the birth parents in getting their family's needs met by accessing community services.
The relationship building begins at placement, giving parents alternatives on ways to get their children back and change their behavior. The foster caregivers introduce themselves to the parents, clarify their role as temporary caregivers, and ask the parents to tell them about how they can best care for children, i.e., sleeping routines, foods they like or dislike, etc. Responsibilities of engaging birth parents increase with time and can range from supervision of visitation, to mentoring, and to coaching birth parents on parenting by including them in the child's daily routines, social, medical, and educational activities. The level of involvement by the birth parents is determined by the extent the children's safety can be assured. The carefully selected and screened foster caregivers' role in coaching and mentoring birth parents is intensified as the parents make progress in addressing the safety factors that led to the children's removal. Parenting skills, household routines, and community engagement are shared and shifted from the foster family to the birth family during the children's transition back home. In most cases, the foster caregivers continue to provide support to the birth family after the children return home.