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February 2009Vol. 10, No. 1Guidance on Child Visitation With Caseworkers and Families

Child Visits With Caseworkers

Findings from the first round of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) showing a relationship between positive outcomes for children in foster care and regular visits from a caseworker have prompted States to improve practice in the area of caseworker visits. A new publication, Visiting Children in Foster Care: Messages From the Practice Field, provides detailed guidance on how to conduct these visits.

Based on a review of the literature, protocols from other States, and input from practitioners in the field, the article provides age-appropriate guidelines for practice, including:

  • Legislative requirements
  • Arranging visits and establishing relationships
  • Best practices in engagement
  • Preparing for reunification
  • Visiting adolescents with a history of disruptive placements
  • Preparing older youth for independence
  • Documenting visits

The article was published in the Summer 2008 issue of Practice Notes, a newsletter published by the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. It can be found on the university website: (441 KB)

Child Visits With Family Members

The Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) in Washington State has developed some resources related to providing visitation for children with their families while in out-of-home care. In a video presentation, Best Practices in Dependency: Planned, Purposeful, and Progressive Visitation, Rose Wentz, a consultant for the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning, discusses how to have safe and successful visits. She covers the Federal legal definition of visits, best practice standards, the connections a child needs while in care, and a four-step decision-making process for developing a visitation plan to meet a child's needs and enable parents to improve parenting skills.

In the publication An Overview of Washington State Child Welfare Law Relating to Visitation, CITA Director Tim Jaasko-Fisher provides an overview of case and statutory law in Washington State related to visitation in juvenile dependency cases. This resource can be used to locate legal authority related to various issues that may arise when considering visitation plans.

CITA is a project of the University of Washington School of Law. It is funded by the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts with money provided through a Federal Court Improvement Program training grant. The visitation resources can be found on the CITA website: