When children are removed from their homes and placed into out-of-home care, the first goal is to return them safely home as soon as possible. Casework practice with birth families involves assessing their strengths and needs and developing, implementing, and monitoring a case plan (also called a treatment plan or service plan) to achieve a goal of reunification. Case managers must use effective family engagement practices and will often refer families for community services to help them address and overcome the problems that led to placement. Resources include State and local examples.
Better Together Curriculum
National Alliance of Children's Trust & Prevention Funds (2015)
Provides information about hosting 2-day Better Together experiential workshops to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between foster parents, birth parents, and staff.
Birth Parent Trauma and What Child Welfare Workers Need to Know [Webinar]
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2015)
Provides information regarding the impact of trauma on birth parents who have become connected to the child welfare system, including reduced engagement with staff and support services.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 812KB)
Realizing Permanency, Well-Being Through Authentic Engagement (PDF - 1,041 KB)
Pinsoneault & Fiermonte (2013)
Alliance for Children and Families
Highlights how family and child engagement practices effectively involve parents in child welfare cases and create long-term change.
Resources for Holding Icebreaker Meetings Between Birth and Foster Parents
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2012)
Provides tools designed to facilitate mutually beneficial interactions between birth and foster parents.
Strategies to Increase Birth Parent Engagement, Partnership, and Leadership in the Child Welfare System: A Review (PDF - 429 KB)
Casey Family Programs
Reviews the literature on effective approaches to involving birth parents in the child welfare system at all levels. The report explores barriers and proactive strategies to engaging birth parents with services and highlights strategies for engaging birth fathers.
Support Matters: Lessons From the Field on Services for Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Care Families (PDF - 2,170 KB)
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids (2017)
Provides guidance on using support services to recruit families, assess family needs, use data to demonstrate the value of services, and implement programs. To access excerpts from the guide, tools, tip sheets, webinars, and featured program profiles, visit the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment Support Matters.
South Dakota Foster Parent Handbook (PDF - 6994 KB)
South Dakota Child Protection Services (2016)
Provides parents with information about the placement of their child in foster care, addressing reasons for the foster care placement, different types of foster care placements, visitation, the parent's financial responsibility for foster care, termination of parental rights, and reunification.