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June 2020Vol. 21, No. 5Helping Families Support Reunification

Reunification is the most common—and preferred—goal for children and youth in out-of-home care. Having foster families who support reunification when it is the best permanency option requires child welfare systems that recruit, develop, and support them. The National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR) compiled a list of nine ideas and strategies that will help child welfare systems in their efforts to do so:

  • Use clear messaging about the importance of reunification.
  • Use data to increase foster parents' knowledge about their role.
  • Incorporate concurrent planning concepts into foster parent training.
  • Encourage birth parents who have reunified to be cotrainers for potential foster parents.
  • Provide peer support for foster parents.
  • Provide foster parents with resources to help them connect.
  • Establish practices that encourage relationship building.
  • Provide foster families with grief and loss support.
  • Explore maintaining contact after reunification.

This resource includes links to videos, tip sheets, and other resources to expand on these strategies. Child welfare and related professionals can use this resource to learn about practices they can incorporate into their own practice to help recruit foster parents and support both them and birth parents as they work toward reunification. The NRCDR also links to the American Bar Association National Reunification Month project for more resources.