Advice on dealing with angry/ aggressive clients

I work in foster care and a lot of the parents I work with are angry about the fact that their children are in foster care. Never mind the fact that it is often their actions that lead to them losing custody, this is something that many parents are unable to realize or take accountability for. My job is to try and get these children back with their parents or, if that isn't feasible, find another permanent home for them.

I have dealt with aggressive and angry clients before and one of the things we are told is to end the conversation/ visit if a parent is out of control and unable to calm down. Two days ago an incident occurred with one of my parents during a visit with his children.

This father has a history of serious anger and aggression issues and previous DV with the children's mother. The children have witnessed this in the home prior to removal. He is in mental health services to help him manage his anger and better deal with situations in which he has little to no control.

When he arrived for his visit the other day he immediately got upset and was aggressive toward the foster mother about his four year old daughter's face being somewhat dry. It is cold out and this child has dry/ sensitive skin already. They got into a verbal argument as I was standing there and I tried to diffuse the situation. I warned the father multiple times that he needed to calm down or I would cancel his visit.

With the aid of our security guard I was able to get him and the child into the visiting room and to stop engaging the foster mother in the argument. I went in a few minutes later to discuss his concerns but he immediately got aggressive with me. This child has already expressed that she is afraid of her father and although she didn't say anything or cry, i could tell by her facial expression that she knew the father was angry about something that had to do with her. I had to end the visit because he just could not discuss his concerns calmly and appropriately.

I'm interested in hearing some advice/ stories/ tips for handling situations like this. This is a family that I have been working with for almost three years and I'm not sure if I handled the situation appropriately. Any responses are welcome. Thanks in advance.


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