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  • Writer's pictureAnn Wrixon

Can the Bond between Foster Youth and Biological Parents Survive Termination of Parental Rights?



For young adults in the general population, maintaining close bonds to parental figures and being able to rely on them in times of need contributes to positive adjustment in the transition to adulthood.” states Havelicek (2021) in her systemic review of birth parent-foster youth relationships before and after aging out of foster care.

The research found that even if parental rights were terminated while the child was in foster care, after leaving care 48% to 61% of foster youth maintain frequent contact (at least once a month) with their birthmothers and 22% to 33% maintain frequent contact with their birthfathers. Most also felt “somewhat or very close” to their birthmothers and 25% to 20% felt similarly about their birthfathers.

Although he researcher emphasized the need for additional research, she stated “Given the considerable extent of contact with birth parents reported by foster youth, there could be real need to better support foster youth toward understanding the strengths, limitations, and risks of relationships with their birth parents. . . As the field increases its understanding of the use of TPR, it is critical to rethink family preservation even when parents are unable to resume parenting.”

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