During family time, also known as parent-child visits, caseworkers may assess visits to ensure the child's safety and evaluate the quality of the parent-child relationship. For children in out-of-home care, family time is essential for healthy child development and helps maintain parent-child attachment. Parent-child visitation strengthens family relationships, supports the child’s adjustment into a foster home, and often results in shorter periods of time in foster care. Use these resources to learn about assessing parent-child visits and measuring the family’s progress toward reunification.
Best Practices Guide for Family Time Supporters (PDF - 4,479 KB)
University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families (2020)
Presents a guide on best practices around family time and parent-child visits in Alaska. The guide emphasizes the importance of safety in these contacts and the importance of assessing and evaluating parent-child visits to ensure healthy relationships.
Child and Family Visitation Best Practice Guide (PDF - 768 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2015)
Offers information on the guiding philosophy, research findings, and benefits of parent-child visitation. This guide also provides information and tools for assessing and planning the visitation process.
Child Welfare Visits Over Video: Tips for Preparing, Coaching, and Assessment
Evident Change (2020)
Offers six things for child welfare workers to consider when coaching and assessing parent-child visits over video.
Enhancing Visitation for Children and Families
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Office of Children and Families in the Courts
Provides information approved by the Pennsylvania State Roundtable that has assisted Pennsylvania counties in evaluating guidelines for visitation. It also highlights tools for enhancing visitation and tools specifically for parents, teenagers, and children.
Family Contact Best Practices: Guide for Professionals (PDF - 17,647 KB)
Provides guidance for child welfare workers on providing culturally centered, meaningful, and healthy contact between children and families. The guide reviews assessing safety, the parent’s capacity to care for the child, the parent-child relationship, and how to conduct trauma-informed assessments.
How to Create Meaningful Family Time With Young Children: Research, Reflection, Relationships (PDF - 6,963 KB)
Irving Harris Foundation Professional Development Network, Child Welfare Committee (2020)
Provides guidance to caseworkers on how to plan, support, and assess quality family time for young children involved with the child welfare system. There is also a version of this resource for child welfare supervisors (PDF - 11,883 KB)
Putting the Pieces Together: Harnessing the Power of Family Time to Strengthen the Parent-Child Relationship and Support Reunification Efforts in Your Family Treatment Court
Children and Family Futures (2021)
Discusses aspects of quality parenting time along with how to measure and track progress in strengthening the parent-child relationship to support the family and inform decisions about family time expansion and reunification.
Topical Brief: Sources of Best Practices for Parent-Child Visitation (PDF - 820 KB)
Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families, Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability (2021)
Reviews ways to work in collaboration with providers to further learning and analyze strategies that support family connection. The brief also presents strategies related to the evaluation of parent-child visits.
Visitation Between Child and Parents, Siblings, and Other Significant Persons (PDF - 246 KB)
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (2021)
Outlines caseworker roles in arranging, facilitating, and assessing visits between children and their parents, siblings, or other significant people in their life.