National Reunification Month is celebrated in June of each year to recognize the people and efforts around the country that help families stay together. It is also a time to celebrate the families who have overcome obstacles to providing a safe and loving home for their children, and are able to reunify after their child was placed in the child welfare system.
This is what the Reunification Process look like
The reunification process is when a child in foster care is actively being reunified with their birth parents. When a child is no longer part of the foster care system, and the case is closed, they have been successfully reunified with their parents. At that point, the parents have regained placement of the child, and Social Services has decided that the home is safe for the child’s return.
When a child is placed in foster care, their parents will be given a case plan with things that they need to do in order to have the children return to their home. Children are removed when the situation they are in is one that is unsafe. The case plan will work to remedy any issues that are considered unsafe, and help the home become one that is more stable.
There is no guaranteed time frame for how long a child will remain in foster care. Some cases are short-term cases and can result in reunification after a few weeks, while other cases can go on for years. When the time frame turns to years, the case plan may become one of reunification with the concurrent plan of adoption.
While parents are working on the reunification of a child, they will need to participate in the required actions laid out in their case plan. While doing this, they are allowed to participate in visits with their child if deemed safe for the child. Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the reason for the removal of the child from the home. The most important thing is to make sure the child is safe.
Being removed from their parents is a traumatic event for children, so because of this social workers are required to try to find kinship placement for children. Kinship placement is when social workers seek out caregivers who are either related to the child (i.e. grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.) or non-strangers to the child (i.e. family friend, god parent, teacher, etc.). Kinship care is not always possible, however, and that is why there is a need for licensed foster homes.
The goal of any case plan is to reunify parents and children and that is achieved by educating parents on how to safely parent their children, as well as provide support and help. Sometimes, even after reunification, parents may be required to continue services to have their children in the home.
National Reunification Month is celebrated in June of each year to recognize the people and efforts around the country that help families stay together. To get more involved in our mission and to help us raise awareness for programs like reunification, please consider donating now.