June 16, 2020
Restoring Families through Reunification
Contact: Sheryl R. Sellaway, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404.695.5564
June is Reunification Month— a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the restoration of children to their family of origin. Reunification is the most common, and, most desired permanency goal for children in foster care. Keeping families together is better for the children, whenever safely possible. It is the first and best option.
According to the Children’s Bureau with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the majority of children exiting foster care are reunited with their families. In fact, over the past few years, the percentage of reunifications that occurred in less than 12 months from the time of entry into foster care was between 65.5-67 percent.
Achieving timely family reunification while preventing re-entry into foster care has numerous benefits—first and foremost, children do best when raised in a safe environment with their family of origin. More often than not, children are less likely to re-enter care if their families received counseling services during or after foster care. Seeking out and valuing family strengths and employing strategies such as equipping foster parents to actively support reunification, conducting comprehensive family assessments, offering post-reunification services, parent-child therapy and regular visits with parents and siblings—are all important and integral to the reunification process.
Our child welfare system acknowledges that children have a right to be raised in their family of origin—if they can be in a safe environment. We are grateful to foster parents who step in, in most cases, temporarily, when families can’t be together. They are often the unifying force between the child and the family, and also have the child’s best interest at heart.
Reunification takes hard work, commitment and the investment of time and resources. Let’s all support families of origin in their efforts to grow and thrive together as well as foster parents, courts, child welfare professionals and CASA/GAL volunteers by encouraging collaboration, supporting policies and standards that promote reunification. At National CASA/GAL, we are grateful to our 93,300 volunteers for their involvement in reunifying children with their families.
For more information about family reunification, please go to www.childwelfare.gov.
Thanks for all you do to bring and keep families together!
CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children