As families make progress toward reunification, it is important for caseworkers to assess the family's strengths and needs to determine when it is safe and appropriate to return a child home. Resources include State and local examples.
Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines for Child Welfare
Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2005)
These guidelines address the components of comprehensive family assessment, show the linkages to service planning and service provision, and illustrate how child welfare agencies can support their use. (PDF - 301 KB)
Essentials of Child Welfare
Ellis, Dulmus, & Wodarski (2003)
Provides foundational information about the child welfare system. Chapter 7 discusses the essentials of reunification, including criteria for reunification and key reunification questions related to the child, the perpetrator, the family, and other social systems.
A Guided Tour of Risk Assessment in Child Welfare (PDF - 102 KB)
Contains several checklists that can be used to assess strengths and risks of families in the child welfare system and to direct reasonable efforts for family reunification.
Indicators for Safe Family Reunification: How Professionals Differ
Karoll & Poertner
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 30(3), 2003
Identified similarities and differences on a variety of indicators of safe reunification between judges who hear juvenile cases, private agency child welfare caseworkers, and substance abuse counselors.
Parents' Pasts and Families' Futures: Using Family Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification (PDF - 389 KB)
Smithgall, DeCoursey, Yang, & Haseltine (2012)
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Uses family assessments conducted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to explore parents' childhood experiences and their current involvement with the child welfare system.
Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE): An Overview
Consortium for Children (2000)
Describes the revision and expansion of SAFE to evaluate families for adoption, foster care licensure, relative placement, and parents for reunification readiness.
State and local examples
North Carolina Family Assessment Scale for Reunification (NCFAS-R): Sample Scale and Definitions
National Family Preservation Network (2005, 2nd ed.)
Evaluates the strengths and needs of families in seven domains to assess readiness for reunification of families in intensive family preservation services (IFPS) programs.
Returning Children Home Safely And Permanently (PDF - 355 KB)
Iowa Department of Human Services (2008)
Focuses on returning children home safely and permanently once they have been placed out of the home as a response to safety issues.