In Youth Service, Inc. Success Stories, we aim to recognize clients who have overcome their hardships to find success through our programming. In this post, we are highlighting our Family Reunification program. FR promotes timely family reunification for youth ages 12-17 entering out-of-home placement for the first time due to well-being issues, such as parent/child conflict, truancy, domestic violence, behavioral health, etc. The goal is to reunify the youth and family within six months of placement. FR service coordinators navigate and advocate for the youth and families to receive appropriate services from community-based providers.
The Family Reunification Team was successful in reunifying two female youth ages 15 and 13 to their family. The teens were placed into foster care as the result of a conflict between mother and daughters during a court hearing for the eldest son. Upon initial contact with both the mother and the teens, the FR Service Coordinator was met with frustration and anger toward DHS. The mother felt that DHS took advantage of her situation at court to bring her daughters into care. The FR Service Coordinator diligently worked with the mother and CUA Case Manager to assess and verbalize that there were no safety concerns for the children at home and that they should be allowed to return home. The FR Service Coordinator pushed to keep the girls motivated in their schoolwork and well behaved in their foster home while encouraging and coaching the mother to attend every court date and meeting in order to know what her rights were and comply with the Department of Human Services in order to have her children return to her care. The FR Service Coordinator referred the family to Functional Family Therapy while the case was open and the family complied with services as an effort to strengthen the bond between the mother and the teens and improve their methods of communication. The family needed to have a series of successful visits between the mother and her daughters before they could return home. After two court hearings and numerous successful visits (both at the agency and in the community), the children were permitted to return home. The family also received family reunification aftercare services that consisted of home visits and connections to community resources that further stabilized the family. Overall family received six and a half months of reunification services.