Today there are a number of ideas for reforming the child welfare system that compete for attention. We appear to have a rich menu of possibilities but little agreement on what to try next. Some of the current ideas include: 10
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 3.2 Special Reunification Programs
Beyond these reunification tools that are implemented in many foster care agencies, many states and counties have developed special reunification programs. These specialized programs are designed to serve families or children with particular needs, or for programs designed as an alternate approach to traditional reunification practices in foster c
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 3.1 Tools to Expedite Reunification
Interviews with state administrators suggest that the following tools are gaining popularity to facilitate and speed reunification within traditional child welfare agencies.
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 3. Programmatic Initiatives
While these alternative permanency options are receiving much attention, reunifying foster care children with their families is still the initial goal of almost every case coming into the system. Routinely, caseworkers follow basic elements of standard reunification practice including:
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 2. Current Status of Permanency and Reunification
The current child welfare system is characterized by an emphasis on the safety of the child. Lengths of time before deciding on permanent plans have been reduced, and more weight is being given to permanency options such as adoption and relative placements. The current emphasis on safety and expedited permanency for children has led to new state l
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 1.2 Federal Legislation
It is important to put federal legislation into a proper perspective in the history of the child welfare system in the United States. Legislation largely followed trends that were already underway, rather than creating those trends, so it is a mistake to trace history solely in terms of legislation. Furthermore, child welfare is a state responsibi
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 1.1 The Social History of Child Welfare
The last century has seen the development of an extensive (and expensive) child welfare system in this country -- a system dominated by government (mostly state and local governments), and a service delivery system dominated by private social service agencies. The system's primary focus is on abuse and neglect of children, having been given respon
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 1. An Historical Review
In the last few decades, foster care of children has come to be viewed as an evil. A necessary evil in some cases, but an evil nonetheless. When possible it should be avoided, since a child's birth family is viewed as the best place for the child except in extraordinary circumstances. When foster care cannot be avoided it is viewed as an arrangeme
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. Chapter 1. Introduction
Improving the permanency of living arrangements for children in the child welfare system has been a central focus of federal and state policy for the past two decades. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) creates faster timeframes for decision making and incentives for adoption to move children more quickly out of the foster care syst
The priority of child welfare agencies is to provide safe and permanent environments for children. The best way to accomplish this goal is to balance the needs of children and their families. These needs often conflict, creating inherent tensions at all levels of the service delivery system. While the tensions can be frustrating and even confusing
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 6. The Evaluation of Programs for Permanency and Reunification
The Evaluation of Programs for Permanency and Reunification expands upon the conceptual paper and reviews what must be learned to develop more effective programs for achieving permanency. It broadens the focus beyond the evaluation of particular programs to consider other empirical work that might inform policy making and program design. Based
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 5. Permanency: A Balancing Act
Permanency: A Balancing Act , presents a framework for thinking about permanency and explores the status of reunification within the permanency continuum. The paper provides an analysis of information gathered across the research components.
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 4. Casework Decision Making
Caseworker Decision Making examines the reunification decision making process and those factors that are considered by caseworkers and staff in determining whether to work towards reunification. Discussions were held with staff at three different child welfare agencies, to obtain an overview of their decision making processes.
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 3. The Role of Race in Parental Reunification
The Role of Race in Parental Reunification explores whether race is a strong predictor of reunification when combined with other child, family, or case history characteristics, and whether the main effect of race is reduced when controlling for other important predictors of reunification.
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 2. Reunification From Foster Care in Nine States 1990-1997: Description and Interpretation
Reunification From Foster Care in Nine States: 1990-1997 presents analyses using the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive to describe the basic structure of the exit process from foster care. Children first entering foster care from 1990-1994 were tracked through administrative data for three years after entry.
Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 1. Permanency and Reunification Trends in 25 States
Permanency and Reunification Trends in 25 States provides an overview of the types of services and programs provided at the state and local levels to achieve safe reunification outcomes for children. Information on reunification efforts throughout the country that was previously collected for A Review of Family Preservation and Family Reunifi
In the 1990s, officials at the state and federal levels were concerned that despite state efforts and enactment of the 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act (AACWA), the number of children entering the child welfare system continued to rise, and children lingered in foster care for an extended period of time. The Congress responded to the
Adopted Children with Special Health Care Needs: Characteristics, Health, and Health Care by Adoption Type. References
Bay Area Social Services Consortium (2005). Understanding and Measuring Child Welfare Outcomes. Berkeley, CA: University of California at Berkeley, School of Social Welfare. Accessed June 30, 2008 at: http://cssr.berkeley.edu/bassc/public/outcomes_summ.pdf Bethell CD, Read D, Stein REK, Blumberg SJ, Wells N and Newacheck PW (2002). I