The goals of reunification include the ongoing safety, stability, and well-being of the entire family. Preventing the need for children to reenter foster care and face additional trauma is a key goal for child welfare services. The following resources offer examples of best practices and innovative programs that help to prevent children or youth from reentering foster care once reunification has occurred, including State and local examples.
Expanding the Conceptualization of Re-entry: The Inter-play Between Child Welfare and Juvenile Services (PDF - 320 KB)
Shipe, Shaw, Betsinger, & Farrell (2017)
Examines reentry rates for children and youth who return to the child welfare system or enter the juvenile justice system after reunification from foster care. The study concludes with implications for the field.
Family Reunification Following Foster Care (PDF - 872 KB)
Monroe & Harris (2016)
University of Florida, Family, Youth, and Community Sciences Department
Explores ways to ensure successful reunification and prevent reentry into foster care, including information for children, steps to take to maintain reunification, how to utilize support systems, and more.
Family Stabilization Programs
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Describes evidence-based programs designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in their homes and prevent their initial placement or reentry into foster care. The programs also aim to support and stabilize families that have come to the attention of child welfare services.
Improving Policies and Services Supporting Successful Reunification [Webinar]
Hall & Baughman (2018)
Shares results and key findings from the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council’s survey of youth and alumni on their experiences with reunification. Presenters discuss several key themes and strategies, including using prevention services to prevent reentry in the foster care system.
National Foster Care Month: Post-Reunification Supports and Prevention of Reentry Into Out-of-Home Care [Webinar]
Capacity Building Center for States (2016)
Provides an overview of the benefits of reunification and postreunification supports and explores how these strategies help prevent reentry into child welfare services. Registration is required to access this webinar.
Promoting Birth Parents’ Relationships With Their Toddlers Upon Reunification: Results From Promoting First Relationships Home Visiting Program
Oxford, Marcenko, Fleming, Lohr, & Spieker (2016)
Child Youth Service Review, 61
Reports the findings of a study on a home visiting program for reunified birth parents of toddlers. The study concludes with implications for practice improvement.
Supporting Lifelong Families: Steps Child Welfare Agencies Can Take to Prevent Children From Re-Entering Foster Care (PDF - 169 KB)
Casey Family Programs (2017)
Provides recommendations child welfare leaders can take to improve services to ensure youth do not reenter care. Casey Family Programs also published a brief in the Supporting Lifelong Families series on ensuring long-lasting permanency and well-being.
Supporting Sustained Permanency Webinar
Child Welfare League of America & Casey Family Programs (2018)
Offers a two-part webinar series on perspectives and strategies to sustain permanency, information on reducing reentry into foster care, funding opportunities, and more.
Age and Other Risk Factors Related to Reentry to Care From Kin Guardian Homes
Parolini, Shlonsky, Magruder, Eastman, Wulczyn, & Webster (2018)
Child Abuse & Neglect, 79
Presents the findings of a study on factors leading kinship guardianship breakdown from cases in California from 2003 to 2010. The study’s findings indicate the need for additional support services for kinship providers before and while children in their care are transitioning to adolescence.
Effectively Implementing Effective Practices for Sustainable Permanency: A Synthesis of Research and Practice (PDF - 3,256 KB)
National Implementation Research Network (2018)
Synthesizes effective practices and implementation methods to promote permanency for children and youth and reduce reentry into the foster care system. The report features core components of various practices and methods, findings from research, and resources for further study.
Families First of Michigan
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (2013)
Describes a program that offers families short-term crisis intervention and family education services in the home to work toward family stabilization and prevent initial placement or reentry into foster care.
Sustained Permanency Project Launching to Prevent Children From Re-Entering Foster Care
Describes the Colorado Division of Child Welfare's Sustained Permanency Project, which was launched in partnership with Casey Family Programs and the National Implementation Research Network to use implementation science to develop a practice model to lessen the likelihood of foster care reentry. The model will use predictive analytics, services, and coaching to improve permanency in Colorado.