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)
Quality Worker-Parent Visits: A Tip Sheet for Supervisors and Managers (PDF - 202 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Describes how supervisors and program managers can assist child welfare caseworkers in conducting quality visits with parents. The tip sheet suggests supports for workers before, during, and after a visit along with questions to ask and potential “red flags” to address.
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 - 438 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 - 1,454 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.
Virginia Department of Social Services
Explains the ways in which the principles of family engagement are used in Virginia child welfare practices.
Impact: Helping Parents Navigate a Complex System
The Children’s Village
Outlines a New York State program designed to support and empower parents as they seek reunification with their children in foster care.