Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 237-255

First online:

Parent–Child Visits in Foster Care: Reaching Shared Goals and Expectations to Better Prepare Children and Parents for Visits

  • Ande NesmithAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of St. Thomas Email author 

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This study presents descriptive findings from a project designed to understand different perspectives about family visits, to pilot a guidebook tool to help participants reach shared goals, and implement best practices. A sample of 133 parents, children, foster parents, and social workers reported their reactions to the tool. Findings revealed that, depending on the role played in visits, there was variation in perceived goals of visits and ideas about handling difficult visits. After using the tool, parents reported feeling better able to manage their emotions during visits, children reported believing their feelings about visits were more normal, and foster parents were more open to discussing parent no-shows with children. Implications for practice are discussed.


Foster care Foster care visitation Parent–child visits Ambiguous loss