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March 2020Vol. 21, No. 2Information Memorandum on the Importance of Family Time and Visitation for Children in Out-of-Home C

The Administration for Children and Families, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released an Information Memorandum (IM) highlighting the importance of meaningful family time and visitation for children and youth in out-of-home care and their families. The IM provides information on research, best practices, resources, and recommendations for making sure children and youth in out-of-home care have safe, meaningful, and frequent family time that strengthens the family, expedites reunification, and improves parent and child well-being.

The IM discusses family time in general, inadequate family time, how to support strong family time practice, and recommendations. It encourages child welfare agencies, court improvement programs, judges, attorneys, and other stakeholders to work together to ensure families with children in out-of-home care have safe, frequent, and quality family time. In addition, the IM discourages the use of family time as a reward or punishment, which is not only unlawful but can lead to negative outcomes for families and their children in care.

To read the IM, visit