Parent and Carer Relationships

“Children need their parents in their lives - one way or the other” (Parent, Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter, 2015)

Children and young people in care who have good relationships with their parents and family have better outcomes - no matter how long they are in care.

When parents are able to achieve greater levels of inclusion, especially with workers and carers acknowledgement of parents’ importance, there are good results for them and their children.

Key messages from research and practice in support of family inclusion:

  • Children and young people benefit when they can see parents and carers getting along well together;

  • Good relationships between parents and carers lead to more successful restorations and better long term outcomes;

  • Children need their families to have ongoing involvement in their lives no matter what the legal order;

  • Relaxed family time together, including time at each other’s houses and shared events, is very supportive of children and contributes positively to stability for children;

  • Children and young people in care want and need a relationship with their parents and other family;

  • Many children lose connections to their siblings and other family as a result of being in care;

  • Being placed in care is inherently traumatic for children and young people;

  • Many children leave care (no matter what the legal order), lonely and isolated from family and social support;

  • Parents worry deeply about their children in care - getting to know carers and having good relationships with their children can help;

  • All families have strengths;

  • Many parents and family experience disrespectful and abusive practice from the child protection and out of home care system;

  • When carers have judgemental attitudes towards parents this is harmful for children and damages relationships;

  • Children and young people benefit when their parents and family are treated with respect and are actively included in their lives;

  • Family inclusion is consistent with NSW government policy;

  • Family inclusion is consistent with the NSW child safe and permanent care standards;

  • There is no evidence that family contact supervision and written family contact reports adds any value to children’s experience of their time with their family and some evidence that it may make things harder