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Promising Practices for Reunification

Little in the literature helps us identify programs that are successful in achieving lasting reunification of children in out-of-home care with their families.

Much of the research has looked at characteristics of children and families that help or hinder reunification, but not at whether children are able to remain in their homes over time, or what their long-term outcomes are in safety and well-being (Littell & Schuerman, 1995; Maluccio, 1998; Wulczyn, 2004).

The National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning (NRCFCPP) has
worked with some programs that seem to be moving toward faster, safer and lasting
reunifications. However, as there is little research to prove that these programs actually do
work, the authors have chosen to highlight several practices they believe are important components of reunification programs that appear to be achieving good results. These practices are:

  •  placement decision-making;
  •  parent-child visiting;
  •  intensive services;
  •  resource parent/birth parent collaboration; and
  •  aftercare services.

These are by no means the only practices that should be incorporated into a reunification
program, nor do they provide a guarantee of success when used individually or in
combination. Rather, they represent some of the important building blocks on which a
comprehensive system of reunification can be based.

Please see the attachment to the right of this page to view the complete article.

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