Reunification & Birth and Foster Family Partnership

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American Bar Association Resources

For National Reunification Month in 2022, the ABA put together this amazing hub of resources for all things reunification. Included you’ll find webinars, articles, testimonials from those with lived experience, and actual tools to put into your practice promoting reunification in child welfare.

Birth and Foster Parent Partnership: A Relationship Building Guide and Leadership Guide

The Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP) was formed in 2016 to support birth parents, foster families, kinship caregivers and staff in improving relationships, building connections and using their collective voices to transform systems, culture, policies and practices to improve outcomes for children and families.

Equipping Foster Parents to Actively Support Reunification

From, AdoptUSKids, this document acts as a guide for organizations and child welfare professionals to help them assess their approach to preparing and supporting foster parents in their role in working toward reunification.

Icebreaker Meetings

Developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family to Family Initiative, Icebreaker meetings are designed to be the first step in building a connection between birth parents and foster parents and preparing them to work together to ease the child’s transition between families.

The main purposes of Icebreakers are to allow the birth and foster parents to share information about the child, such as daily routines, food preferences, favorite toys, and medical needs, and to make preliminary plans for visitation. The child is usually included in the meeting so that he or she can also share information and ask questions. 

Partnering with Parents

Across the country, birth parents, foster parents and child welfare professionals alike are working towards reunification and improving the transition process. Many courts and child welfare agencies are turning to parents who have previous system involvement to provide mentoring and guidance to parents entering the system. Commonly known as parent partner, parent mentor and parent ally programs, this approach has emerged nationwide as a powerful tool for family empowerment and engagement.

Reunifying Families

From the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

When children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. Child welfare agencies implement multifaceted strategies that build on family strengths and address concerns. Such strategies may include family engagement, maintaining family and cultural connections, connecting families to evidence-based services in the community, regular and frequent visits among family members and with the worker, and parent education, among others. Returning children home often requires intensive, family-centered services to support a safe and stable family. Services should be tailored to each family’s circumstances and should address the issue(s) that brought the child and family into the child welfare system. The following resources offer an array of practices and strategies that support family reunification efforts in child welfare, including State and local examples.

Supporting Successful Reunifications

This bulletin offers information to help child welfare agency managers by providing strategies for achieving reunification and preventing reentry and includes examples of promising practices being implemented by states and localities.

From the Child Welfare Information Gateway- a Bulletin for Professionals, 2017