By John Kelly, The Chronicle of Social Change, May 5, 2020.
In 2019, Nebraska announced plans for a pilot project in which foster parents would play a starring role in the reunification process, going beyond the traditional role of a caregiver for kids. These specialized resource families, through a strategy known as shared or co-parenting, support and mentor birth parents in hopes that children can more quickly and safely be returned home.
Just before the coronavirus hit, New York City’s Rising Ground embarked on a similar venture, using a $200,000 grant to bring on a psychiatrist that would facilitate connections between the agency’s foster parents and birth parents. This project followed the approach embraced most widely by North Carolina, which has made it state child welfare policy that all foster parents adopt a co-parenting approach to the work.