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Here are the tips shared from at the Best for Babies Discussion group on 6/3/2017:

Links to great information on the web:

Building rapport with bio parents/ foster parents/ caregiver

  • Be prepared that they may be a little uncomfortable/ apprehensive and confused by your role.  In the beginning, spend the time to build rapport with them.  Make sure that they understand how your role helps them in shaping the court’s understanding of what is best for the child.  Invite them to share their thoughts and tell you about the child.  Offer to assist them in advocating for services for the child.  If there are not any immediate health or safety questions, wait until you have developed rapport to ask difficult questions or about challenges.
  • Be a help when you come.  Bring a toy to engage the child (not to give the child) so that the caregiver can be free from attending to the child while you are visiting.  Plan your visits in harmony with nap and appointment schedules.
  • If you will be attending visitations with bio parents, try to let them know ahead of time that you will be present.    If you can, arrange for a time before or after the visitation to ask questions.  Do not use their visitation time to ask questions, simply observe.

Building rapport/ interacting with the child:

  • Just hold and talk to them when they are small. 
  • Bring a special toy to share during your visit (it can also help you to observe their development)
  • Take the child for a walk
  • Coordinate visits with other in-home service providers to observe


  • With a young child, you are likely to have more time/ interaction with caregivers.  Be prepared for them to ask questions about confidential matters. It is ok to talk about things you both already know. 
  • Be careful about sharing new information or your opinions about the case.  Prepare polite responses and redirection ahead of time.  Remember that the social worker is usually the best source of information for both caregivers and bio parents.  

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