In many cases, foster care is not forever. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about three in five children in foster care return home to their parents or other family members.
Reunification (sometimes referred to as Reintegration, Unification) doesn’t happen overnight. Additionally, the length of time children may remain in foster care depends on the circumstances that bring a child into the foster care system, as well as the overall progress and strength of their case plan. Our team’s first goal is to reunite children with their families as soon as possible. First, DHR establishes an individualized service plan involving our team — or a plan involving required action for all parties involved with that child’s care to do in order for reunification to be brought about. This plans ultimately serve as the road map for bringing children back home.
While this may be an emotionally trying time, it’s important to understand that during the first fifteen months your child remains in foster care, States are required by law to work to bring parents and children back together, but laws and policies governing reunification vary by state. Working with a child welfare worker and a legal representative will help you better understand the laws and policies of your case.
Our accredited Family Preservation program is designed to strengthen and preserve families, and while it is not a cure for the struggles of family life, it is a successful program that teaches, challenges and helps families learn the skills they need to stay together and help each other grow. We serve up to 46 families at a time in Family Preservation with services typically lasting 12-16 weeks but can last up to 9 months.
The Family Preservation program serves a variety of people seeking to preserve or reunite their families:
Family Preservation is an intensive in-home intervention program. For a period of up to nine months, our skilled and highly qualified staff works to help alleviate conditions within the home where removal of children from the home is imminent. The program also provides services in situations where children have been removed from their homes and where, ultimately, reunification with biological parents or other relatives is desired. On average, our Family Preservation program has a 95% success rate.
Our goal is to preserve and reunify families while ensuring the safety of children and helping families to learn new skills that help bring about restoration AND to prevent the need for a child’s re-entry into foster care. While each family situation is different and special, some ways in which we help support prevention or reunification, might include:
Our family preservation program is managed from our Andalusia and Dothan offices with support services provided to multiple counties in South Alabama.
“It’s one of the worst things you can be faced with as a family, and we made it through that. The Family Preservation Program allowed me to truly have my family back together. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am.”