Divided Loyalties

Total Number of Hours: 2

Specific parts of the foster care program work that this training address:

  • Conditions/experiences that may affect attachment issues
  • Being non-judgmental in working with birth parents and supporting children’s connections with birth family members
  • Reunification process, visitation, and managing transitions
  • Promoting a child’s sense of identity, family, culture, history, and values to help develop self-esteem
  • Types of loss and responses to separation/loss

Session Description:

When children enter the foster care system, they experience many mixed feelings.  Foster families and adoptive families provide safe, nurturing environments and yet still children long for and talk about their birth parents – seeing them, hearing from them, being back with them … much to the confusion (and sometimes heartbreak) of the resource parents working hard to care for them. 

For children and youth in foster care, caring for their resource parents often comes with the torn feelings of concern that they are betraying their birth parents.  They wonder whom to love, if it is okay to love both sets of parents, and how to express those torn feelings.  Without sophisticated ways to say express this in words, kids show the pain of loyalty conflicts through challenging behaviors, by rejecting resource parents, and sometimes even by sabotaging placements.  This workshop will help resource families understand these divided loyalties, how to prevent them, and what to do when they surface.