Intensive Family Reunification
Indiana—Intensive Family Reunification
The Marion County Juvenile Court used Federal Title IV-E waiver and State contract funds to implement the Intensive Family Reunification (IFR) program. The program aims to reunite adolescents (both delinquents and victims of child abuse and neglect) in institutional placements with their families.
Strategies. IFR implements services in three phases over a 15-month period. The first phase begins immediately upon referral and lasts 42 days; it involves preparing the youth, the family, the residential staff, and other relevant parties for the youth's return home. In Phase 2, intensive services are provided for 3 to 4 weeks, using the Homebuilder's Intensive Family Preservation model to support the reunited family . Phase 3 provides services to increase the family's independence during a 12-month period. Services include case management, parent education, and links to community-based services.
Outcomes. In the last several years, IFR has worked with 35 youth per year; an average of 70 percent of them went home within the first 42 days. Of these, 85 to 90 percent remained in the home through Phase 2, and 74 percent remained home for 1 year following reunification. Follow-up research on 250 youth served by IFR in the last 10 years revealed that 52 percent of them remained with their families into adulthood.
Lessons Learned. Resistance from residential staff to returning the youth home was addressed through training and networking among project and residential staff.
More Information on Model Programs for Youth Permanency
Read more about this and other model programs for youth permanency in Model Programs for Youth Permanency (PDF - 236 KB) by M.J. Louisell, from the California Partnership for Youth Project.