“I feel so relieved to have the children with me, but I also want them to have good contact with their parents.”
Many times, relatives intervene directly to provide care for relative children in need. Qualified relatives are always the required first placement if DHS Child Welfare is involved. Either way, managing contact between your relative child and the child’s parent(s), who may be coping with their own problems, can often be challenging.
If you are working with DHS Child Welfare, you can arrange supervised or unsupervised visits at the Child Welfare office, at home or at another location in the community. Your family, DHS Child Welfare and the parents will collaborate on a visitation plan that best suits the child’s needs.
Examples of possible challenges associated with visits and family contacts include:
- The child may refuse contact with the parent or be extremely upset or dysregulated before and/or after contact with the parent.
- A parent may be inconsistent, break promises, or miss visits.
- A parent may call or visit a child while he or she is intoxicated or using drugs.
- In extreme cases a parent may try to abduct the child.
Relatives who are not involved with Child Welfare may find it helpful to participate in an online or in-person support group for relatives raising others’ children.
Relatives who are working with Child Welfare can ask for a family meeting to set boundaries or arrange support for visits. You may want to keep a list of concerns to share with your caseworker or ask Intensive Family Services to help with visits.