Reunification is the most common goal for children in foster care. When children are separated from their families, the first goal is to reunify them when it is safe enough to do so. To support the reunification process, child welfare agencies should implement trauma-informed, family-centered approaches that build on family strengths and actively engage parents, youth, and kin— including maternal and paternal relatives and fictive kin—as experts on their own lives.

Identifying the safety issue that brought the family to the attention of the child welfare system, assessing family strengths and needs, and bringing together a team of partners to include the family, caregivers, and legal and community providers are all strategies that can positively impact reunification and support long-term family stability.

Reunification services should be strengths based, culturally responsive, trauma informed, and accessible to parents. Because African American children are less likely to exit foster care through reunification than White children, increasing reunification rates for these children and families is one way to address racial disproportionality and disparity  in child welfare.

Use these resources to learn practices and strategies that support family reunification in child welfare.

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