Assessing the Needs of Reunified Families from Foster Care: A Parent Perspective.
Stephens, Tricia. Parchment, Tyrone. Gopalan, Geetha. Burton, Geraldine. Ortiz, Aida. Brantley, Taishawn. Martinez, Selestina. McKay, Mary.
Published: January 2017
Vol. 94, No. 6 , p. 9-37
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
727 15th Street, NW 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Post-reunification supports and services for families following foster care involvement are both scarce and underutilized.As a result, families find themselves lacking supports during the critical period of reunification. With reunification failing approximately one-third of the time, additional knowledge is needed to develop more appropriate services that better support reunifying families. This qualitative study explored post-reunification needs from the parent perspective. Six parents participated in two Community Cafés and one focus group, providing their perspectives of the challenges and successes experienced during their reunification processes. Results indicate that barriers to accessing existing services were fueled by fears of new child maltreatment claims and foster care placements. Securing housing, child health care, and mental health care facilitated reunification, while renegotiating the parental role post-reunification and family bonding were essential tasks in re-establishing household norms. Trusted informal supports, including family members and community-based organizations, were utilized in place of formal services. Policy and practice recommendations are discussed. (Author abstract)
foster care; family reunification; needs assessment; barriers; community based services; family support systems; fear; parental attitudes; child abuse; housing; mental health services; parent child relationships