As families make progress toward reunification, it is important child welfare agencies, courts, and other service providers work across disciplines to assess the family's strengths and needs to determine when it is safe and appropriate to return a child home. Working with the family, caseworkers examine such variables as whether the safety issues that resulted in out-of-home placement have been addressed, whether parents and children have received the services outlined in the case plan, whether parents have met other case plan requirements, whether there is a plan in place to keep children safe once they return home, and more. The following resources can help workers with assessment. They also include State and local examples.
Family Engagement Inventory
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Familiarizes professionals with how family engagement is defined and implemented across child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, education, and early education.
Re-Thinking – Family-Centered Approach Towards Assessing Family Readiness for Reunification
National Family Drug Court TTA Program (2014)
Provides key areas for professionals to consider when assessing family readiness for reunification, including parent-child relationships, assessment tools, and quality visitations.
Reunification Survey Results
Presents key findings about youth and alumni experiences returning home from foster care and the services they received to then improve the resources available to youth in care.
So How Do You Know They Are Really Ready? Key Considerations for Assessing Families in Recovery for Reunification [Webinar]
Children and Family Futures (2014)
Explains the impact on the child-parent bond when parents struggle with substance use and promising strategies to promote and ensure family readiness for reunification.
Supporting Successful Reunifications
Webinar: Improving Policies and Services Supporting Successful Reunification [Webinar]
Discusses how provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 can work to support more effective and successful reunification.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Discusses the structured review process for assessing and determining a family’s compliance with court orders, family conditions, resources, strengths, and vulnerabilities in advance of reunification.
Leeds City Council (2016)
Provides guidance on the processes and framework for determining whether a child can be reunified with his or her birth family.