New Mexico, California and several other states are encouraging an unlikely partnership between foster and birth parents to help reduce psychological trauma for foster children.
The programs have been developed as child welfare administrators acknowledge that more than half of foster children will eventually return home to their parents. Programs also provide an opportunity to help rehabilitate the parents.
States vary widely on whether they encourage birth parents to stay involved.
In some cases, parents may keep in contact over the phone or face-to-face. Caseworkers and judges decide how much contact is appropriate. Foster parents are taught to speak positively about birth parents and are encouraged to do small things like place a birth parent's picture in the child's room.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.