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May 2009Vol. 10, No. 4Resources for Family Reunification Services

Two new resources are available to help professionals and advocates ease the transition for families when children return from stays in foster care. These resources may provide guidance for assessment, services and support, and follow-up.

Model for Intensive Family Reunification Services
The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) recently released a model for the delivery of Intensive Family Reunification Services. These services are generally short-term, intensive, family-based, and designed to reunite families when children have been in foster care for 3 to 8 months. The model is organized by a listing of program components, with a rationale for each component that is based on research or on strong models of Intensive Family Reunification. These components include:

  • Target population
  • Timeframe for the caseworker to meet with the family
  • Caseworker availability
  • Parent-child visitation and timeframe to return the child home
  • Family assessments
  • Recommendations for maximum caseloads
  • Clinical model
  • Length of intervention
  • Concrete services
  • Step-down services
  • Follow-up services
  • Staff qualifications
  • Agency support and supervision

The model is designed to guide professionals in helping the family prepare to reunite and to address safety issues. The model is available for download from the NFPN website:

The Role of the CASA in Family Reunification
“Giving the Family a Chance: Working Towards Reunification” is the featured story of the Winter 2008 issue of The Connection. In the article, author Lisette Austin explores the role that a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) can play in the process of reunification of children and their families. Because CASAs typically work with only one or two families at a time, they can help support the reunification process through their activities, including gathering information, facilitating family visitation, and monitoring the delivery of needed services. The article includes tips for advocates and real-life examples of how CASAs support the reunification process.

The Connection is published by the National CASA Association. The Winter 2008 issue includes a number of articles on family reunification, including the perspectives of a parent, a youth, and a volunteer. The newsletter is available online: (1.87 MB)