Parent and Carer Relationships

“Children need their parents in their lives – one way or the other”


Children and young people in care who have good relationships with their parents and family have better outcomes – no matter how long they are in care.

Much better results can be achieved for children, their parents, and family when parents and family are included more and in active and meaningful ways, which involves workers and carers acknowledging the importance of parents and family for children.

“The kids were crying and saying they’d be good. I didn’t know what to do. As soon as they were taken, I walked round the corner from the school and just collapsed in the road. My sister and a neighbour had to come get me and I was just screaming. I didn’t know what was happening and didn’t understand why. I thought I was doing everything right.” (Parent)

Key messages from research and practice

in support of carers being family inclusive

  • Children and young people benefit when they can see parents and carers getting along well together
  • Relaxed family time together, including time at each other’s houses and shared events, is very supportive of children and contributes positively to stability for children
  • Many children leave care (no matter what the legal order), lonely and isolated from family and social support
  • Many parents and family experience disrespectful and abusive practice from the child protection and out of home care system
  • Children and young people benefit when their parents and family are treated with respect and are actively included in their lives
  • Good relationships between parents and carers lead to more successful restorations and better long term outcomes
  • Children and young people in care want and need a relationship with their parents and other family 
  • Being placed in care is inherently traumatic for children and young people
  • All families have strengths
  • Family inclusion is consistent with NSW government policy
  • There is no evidence that supervision of family contact or written reports about family contact add any value to children’s experience of their time with family. There is some evidence that it may make things harder.
  • Children need their families to have ongoing involvement in their lives no matter what the legal order 
  • Parents worry deeply about their children in care – getting to know carers and having good relationships with their children can help
  • When carers have judgemental attitudes towards parents this is harmful for children and damages relationships
  • Family inclusion is consistent with the NSW child safe and permanent care standards

Do you have a question?

If you require some additional direction or support, feel free to send us an email.