Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. Appendix C. A Review of 12 Reunification Efforts


Program: Wraparound Services -- Santa Clara County, California 
Established: 1994

The Wraparound Services program in Santa Clara County provides intensive services to remove severely emotionally disturbed children from the county's most restrictive residential facilities and reunify them with their families. These cases represent some of the most difficult ones to serve and reunify in the child welfare system, where parents' problems with parenting are exacerbated by children's serious mental health needs. Wraparound is a family-centered, strength-based approach where an extensive array of services are "wrapped around" the family unit to support their strengths and meet all their needs with respect to personal and community safety, education, emotional and physical health, family life, recreation and legal issues. The program uses a team approach to involve the family, wraparound staff, relatives, neighbors and other community members to make decisions about the family's service plan.

Program Contact: Sue Farr 
Social Service Program Manager
Santa Clara County 
1725 Technology Drive
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 441-5610

Program: Substance Abuse Recovery Management System (SARMS) and Dependency Court Recovery Project -- San Diego, California 
Established: 1998

The Substance Abuse Recovery Management (SARMS) and Dependency Drug Court are coordinated programs to address the overwhelming need to resolve the substance abuse problems of parents in San Diego whose children are in foster care. When a custody petition is entered and the caseworker has identified substance abuse as a contributing factor to the abuse or neglect of the child, the parent(s) is referred to the 6-month SARMS treatment program where treatment is provided by several inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers. Parents' failure to comply with treatment may result in the court exercising a number of sanctions, including 3-5 days in custody and/or a monetary penalty for contempt of court. About 80-85 percent of parents successfully complete the SARMS program. The balance are referred to the 9-month Dependency Drug Court program. In the Drug Court program, parents continue to receive treatment for substance abuse, but must make frequent court appearances to report their progress to the judge.

Program Contact: Pat Peterson 
Substance Abuse and Recovery Management System (SARMS) Coordinator 
2851 Meadowlark Drive 
San Diego, CA 92123-2792 
(858) 514-8498

Program: Homeward Bound -- Pensacola, FL 
Established: 1992

The Homeward Bound program provides reunification services to children at the time of their first out-of-home placement. These reunification services begin immediately following a child's removal from the home. Using a team approach with a caseworker and a para-professional, Homeward Bound provides a variety of services, including child counseling; concrete services of food, transportation, and housing referral; parent training; household management; visitation; foster care mentoring (for new foster parents) aftercare services; wraparound services; day care; education and training; and medical care. The children are seen weekly by the caseworkers (rather than monthly for regular reunification services), and workers establish a relationship with the children and parents so that they can contribute to the planning process. Reunification services may be provided for up to 12 months and the program also provides 6 months of after-care services to a parent or relative once the child has returned home.

Program Contact: Kim Rayburn 
Program Director 
Homeward Bound 
Children's Home Society 
5375 North Ninth Ave. 
P.O. Box 19136 
Pensacola, FL 32523 
(850) 494-5985

Program: Bridging for Success --Georgia 
Established: 1992

Bridging for Success is a statewide reunification program in Georgia that provides strength-based, family-focused, community-based, and solution-focused services to families whose children are primarily in residential treatment. The program serves children ages 12 to 17 who have been severely physically or sexually abused, most of whom have been in multiple foster care placements. The program does a thorough assessment of the family early in the treatment process and tries to involve as many relatives or close friends of the clients as possible in the service planning, treatment and case review process. The program provides individual and family counseling/therapy, concrete services, parent training, household management, visitation, after care services, wraparound services, substance abuse services (to parent or child), education and training (to parent or child), and medical care for 11 to 14 months, while the child is in residential care. After-care is provided for up to 12 months after the child returns home.

Program Contact: Thomas Russell 
Executive Director 
Bridging for Success 
1559 Johnson Rd., N.W. 
Atlanta, GA 30318 
(404) 792-0070

Program: Mothers Making A Change -- Cobb and Douglas Counties, Georgia 
Established: 1992

Mothers Making a Change (MMAC) provides services to women who are at risk of losing their children due to substance abuse. The program provides a coordinated set of services, including substance abuse treatment, anger management sessions, parenting education, general education, and child care support to keep families together. The program includes a residential component, where women and their children may live together while services are provided. If a client is pregnant upon referral, the program provides services to make sure she delivers a drug-free baby and is not at risk of losing the baby upon delivery. Other clients must have and maintain rights to at least one child, or be eligible to petition for rights, in order to qualify for the program. The program has a multi-level team staff to address client needs, including a residential site coordinator, site supervisor, educational coordinator, clinical counselor, physician, nurse, and child care staff, and a Child Protective Service worker is also located at the MMAC site. Families generally receive services for 12-15 months, although they can extend for up to 2 years.

Program Contacts: Teresa Smith 
Director of Women's Services 
Mothers Making A Change (MMAC) 
331 N. Marietta Parkway 
Marietta, GA 30060 
(770) 499-2422

Doris Walker 
Chief, Foster Care Unit 
Division of Family and Children Services 
2 Peachtree, 18th Floor 
Atlanta, GA 30303 
(404) 657-3459

Program: Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children -- Somerset, Kentucky 
Established: 1996

The reunification program operated by the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children is based on a Homebuilders model: Caseworkers are available to families 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and each worker serves three to five families for a service duration of 2 to 4 months. The program serves families where the child has at least 30 days left in placement before returning home. Services available to families include individual and family counseling, budgeting, communication skills, mediation, crisis intervention, parenting skills, alternative forms of discipline, and concrete services, with nearly all services provided to the family in-home. The program is distinct from other reunification services in Kentucky due to its intensity of service, particularly the number of hours per week it serves the family and the flexible hours workers are available to the family (i.e., weekends, after hours, and nights).

Program Contact: Michael Phelps 
Program Director 
Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children 
111 S. Church St. 
Somerset, KY 42501 
(606) 677-0784

Program: Family Reunification, Blue Grass Comp Care -- Kentucky 
Established: 1995

Family Reunification is a program where staff work with both the family and the foster family to help the child make a smooth transition to return home with the birth parent. The program provides intensive services to families, beginning at the point just prior to when a child returns home, and for up to 12 weeks after the child is home. Services are most intense at the time the child returns home, when tensions and stress can make reunification difficult. Children eligible for the program must have been in foster care for less than 15 months, the family must have had at least three extended overnight visits, and have a case goal of reunification. Workers generally carry a caseload of 4 to 5 reunification cases, and provide 5 to 20 hours of services per week, depending on the family's need. Services received by the families includes individual counseling, concrete services, connecting families with community services and resources, parenting skills, and communication skills.

Program Contact: Rosemary Coldiron-Ekes 
Office Manager and Program Director 
Family Preservation, Blue Grass Comprehensive Care 
2311 Fortune Dr. Suite 201 
Lexington, KY 40509 

Program: Family Reunification Network -- Massachusetts 
Established: 1993

The Family Reunification Network (FRN) is a regional network serving children, generally over 6 years old, in specialized foster care. FRN's goal is to reunify children in high-cost, specialized, residential treatment placements with their parents. A Network clinician provides in-home services to both the child (in specialized foster family care) and to the birth parents. Eighty percent of the children in the program are also receiving mental health treatment through an outpatient clinic, so most children in foster homes are receiving support services in-home as well as outpatient mental health services. Birth parents receive services to prepare them for reunification and other services necessary to meet their needs. The clinician also works to link families to natural community supports, such ongoing therapy through a neighborhood clinic, and helping to find afterschool programs for children in their communities. FRN services are provided for 1 year. When a child enters FRN, concurrent planning is done with the case from the start. If reunification is not possible following services and the child is freed for adoption, FRN staff work aggressively to find an adoptive family for the child.

Program Contact: Peggy Mosley 
Director of Operations 
Communities for People, Inc. 
566 Commonwealth Avenue 
Boston, MA 02215-09111 

Program: Family Reunion -- Missouri 
Established: 1993

Family Reunion is a statewide intensive reunification program serving children ages 0-17 who are in foster care or kinship care, and have had safety issues addressed. The program is based on the Homebuilder model encompassing a philosophy of empowering and building new skills for families; small caseload sizes; and short-term, intensive services to families. Family Reunion specialists carry a caseload of three families, and spend 10-13 hours per week with each family, most often providing in-home services. Children and families are provided services for an 8 to 12 week period, although some areas provide up to 6 months of services to a family. The program provides concrete services, parent training, behavior training, household management, housekeeping or cleaning, and safety training. Other services provided to families, if available in the community, including individual and family counseling, assistance to find day care, crisis intervention and crisis funds, and transportation. The program also works to connect the family with community resources and services.

Program Contact: Vincent Geremia 
CS Program Manager 
Missouri Department of Social Services 
Division of Family Services 
P.O. Box 88 
Jefferson City, MO 65103 

Program: Natural Parent Support Program -- New Jersey 
Established: 1999

The Natural Parent Support Program (NPSP) is a statewide intensive reunification program that emphasizes a holistic approach to family issues, and provides each family with 5-7 hours of in-home services per week to reduce the stress of transitioning the child back into the home. A wide array of services are available to help teach parenting, home management, communication, parent behavior and discipline techniques, and to assist the parent in dealing with daily activities of work, home, and child care. Parents may also receive education and training, medical care, and transportation to appointments and school. NPSP also provides a full-range of service to children including individual counseling, play therapy, monitoring of school progress, psychological evaluation, and school support. Families receive services for 4 to 6 months, with an extension possible if needed. In the final family assessment, the public agency worker (DYFS) and NPSP worker coordinate to arrange referrals to appropriate community based after care services for the family.

Program Contact: Joseph Gorman 
Assistant Division Director 
Catholic Charities 
39 North Clinton Avenue 
Trenton, NJ 08609 

Program: Families for Kids -- North Carolina 
Established: 1996

Families for Kids is a statewide comprehensive service program that targets all children entering the child welfare system. Families for Kids, designed individually by the local social service agencies in each community, includes comprehensive services for at risk families who are at home or in foster care. The program philosophy is based on the belief that better outcomes for children can be achieved through five basic changes in the child welfare system: 1) providing comprehensive preventive services to any family who asked for them; 2) conducting a single assessment for families entering the child welfare system; 3) providing continuity and coordination of services through one social work team; 4) reducing the number of foster care placements for each child; and 5) achieving permanency for a child within one year. A system of care protocol is implemented that incorporates teams of social service staff to serve families to insure that all the agencies serving a particular family or child worked together. The program also includes a written protocol used by social service staff for assessing families' needs (a single coordinated assessment tool). An integrated case plan is developed and services are provided through a single social service team comprised of multiple agency workers, rather than several individual agencies. Services provided include individual and family counseling, concrete services, parent training, household management, visitation, foster parent mentoring, aftercare services, wraparound services, substance abuse treatment, day care, education, and medical care.

Program Contact: Mandy Stone 
Assistant Director, Buncombe County Department of Social Services 
P.O. Box 7408 
Asheville, North Carolina 28802 
(828) 250-5749

Program: Lucas County Ohio Community Development Department (CDD) 
Established: 1998

The Community Development Department of Lucas County Ohio (CDD) provides intensive, in-home reunification services to families. The CDD, using the Casey Family-to-Family model, works to connect families with their neighborhoods and communities, and assists in identifying and developing neighborhood-based, family-centered, family-based services (through private agencies). Lucas County has eight community resource centers to facilitate services and work to link families to services in their immediate neighborhoods. CDD is made up of four units: Community Resources Liaison, Parent Education, Day Care, and Community Advocate. These units provide a range of services that are intended to maintain or reunify families including parenting classes, home management, and referrals to counseling and other community services. Families receive services as soon as the child has been removed from the home, and services can last up to 10 months. The hope is that once Children's Services closes a reunification case, that the family, when in need of assistance or support, will turn to the community resource center for additional services.

Program Contact: Beth Leatherman 
Community Development Manager 
Lucas County Children Services 
705 Adams Street 
Toledo, Ohio 43624-9943