Common Goal: Reunification

Información en español

All partners in the child welfare system, including the Department of Children and Families, county and tribal child welfare agencies, foster parents, share a common goal - reunification. When a child is removed from their home, a permanency plan is developed to spell out specific steps a family must take to reunite with their child. The Permanency Plan serves as a tool for communicating with parents/caregivers, children, their family members, court parties, and other individuals involved in providing supports and services to the family.

What Can I Expect in this Process?

A child welfare professional will sit down with you to:

  • Identify household behaviors that need to change and the behaviors that need to be demonstrated and sustained
  • Develop measurable goals to enhance your protective capacity 
  • Confirm any specific needs and strengths and how those will be addresses
  • Identify change strategies to assist you in achieving stability and safe case closure 
  • Find services and activities that are easily accessible and meet your needs 
  • Involve non-custodial or absent parents and relatives as resources for children

Using this information. the child welfare professional will develop the permanency plan and share it with you for your review and agreement.

Will I get to see my Child While they are in Out-of-Home Care?

In most cases, parents are able to visit their child. The frequency and type of visit (virtual, in person, supervised, unsupervised) will be identified by you and your child welfare professional and included in your permanency plan. 

What are the Types of Out-of-Home Care Placements?

Keeping children and youth connected to their family, their community, and their cultural roots is critical to them thriving. Therefore, county and tribal child welfare agencies will strive to keep children in a family setting, preferably with other family or friends that the child is familiar with. 

  • Placement with relatives (preferred)
  • Placement in a non-relative home, such as with a family friend or a foster home
  • Placement in a group care setting (reserved for those with complex needs that cannot be met within a home setting)

What if Reunification is not Possible?

When a child is unable to return their family home, county and tribal child welfare agencies will work to find a safe, permanent home for the child. If possible, this will be a relative or family friend. When that is not possible, the county and tribal child welfare agency will look for an adoptive placement.