When children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. Children reunited into safe, stable, and loving family environments tend to perform better in school and have better social skills than those who remain in foster care.
Making reunification the primary goal of out-of-home care requires child welfare agencies to execute intensive, family-centered services to support a safe and stable family. Services should be tailored to each family's circumstances and address the issues that brought the child and family into the child welfare system. June is recognized as National Reunification Month and a time to recognize and honor the year-long efforts to reunite families.
This episode focuses on the current reality of reunification across our public child welfare system. Listeners will hear a conversation among child welfare professionals, members of the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, the Children’s Bureau, and an alumnus of foster care, including the following:
- Mimi Laver, director of legal representation, ABA Center on Children and the Law
- Scott Trowbridge, child welfare program specialist, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau
- Chauncey Strong, executive director, Strong Training and Consulting, LLC
Topics discussed include the following:
- What the data indicate regarding reunifying families involved in the child welfare system
- What the Federal government and national partners are doing to increase reunification
- The racial inequities, specifically for teen boys of color, within reunification efforts
- How local agencies, caseworkers, and communities can shift their mindsets and actions to ensure reunification is treated as the primary goal when children are removed from their families