National Reunification Month focuses on the importance of partnerships between birth and foster parents

Reunification with parents or primary caregivers is the most common goal and the most common outcome for youth in out-of-home care. The best practices in reunification include honoring, nurturing, maintaining and rebuilding the connections and relationships youth have with their family and community. 

Children, youth and families benefit when foster and birth parents have a meaningful partnership that provides quality support. There are many ways for foster and birth parents to engage and embrace one another while youth are in care temporarily, as well as after reunification has been achieved. 

Building meaningful connections is a great way to promote reunification. It is important to establish positive relationships between foster and biological families so that birth parents feel closer to their children. If case plans allow, staying connected by phone, visits, email and/or social media are just a few ways for the two families to establish communication and build trust.

In most cases where youth are not placed with kin, relationships between foster and birth parents are often built in the beginning. Ongoing communication after a child has returned home can provide extended support to the families that have been reunified. Regular check-ins help maintain connections between foster and birth families.  

Reunification with birth families is the primary permanency plan for children in foster care. The Division of Family & Children Services recognizes that children have a right to be raised by their families in safe environments with the support of their extended families and communities.  

For more information on the importance of building quality partnerships, click here.