As families make progress toward reunification, it is important for caseworkers 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 assess readiness for reunification. They also include State and local examples.
Reunification Survey Results
Presents key findings about youth and alumni experiences in returning home from foster care and the services they received to help agencies improve the resources available to youth in care.
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.
Reunification Assessment (PDF - 154 KB)
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (2021)
Shares a reunification assessment used by caseworkers in Michigan to help make case management decisions for children in foster care and determine whether the child and family are ready for 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.
Reunification Assessment Resource Guide (PDF - 887 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2020)
Provides definitions related to conducting reunification assessments with families in Texas, a sample assessment form for caseworkers to review, and instructions for the assessment.