Returning to Family and Community
Reunification is the process of reuniting a child who is in an out-of-home care placement with his or her birth family.
It is a main priority of child protection legislation and policy throughout a child’s out-of-home care placement.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, reunification is even more important! As mentioned in other sections of this resource, the hurt that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experienced in recent history (through colonisation, and the Stolen Generations for example) make this an especially sensitive issue and reinforce why returning the child to their family and community is so integral.
Once again, we refer to the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, and each child maintaining healthy relationships and connections with their family and community.
Conditions or circumstances
that are considered for the reunification process could be:
The child’s best interest
Assessing harm and future risk
The child’s developmental needs
The child’s attachments
Therefore, the best interest of the child is at the forefront of the decisions made regarding reunification.
of reunification between the case worker, child and their family may involve:
Therapy for the child or/and counseling for the family
Putting supports in place for the carer
Maintaining the relationship with the child’s family
Long term support
Supporting the child from the very beginning through to when reunification has been achieved, and supporting afterwards.
Collaborating and engaging with the family and amongst the child and family services system
These services offer:
- Reuniting and strengthening families post child protection involvement.
- Intensive family support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are in care and support the family reunification process.
- Improving family and community wellbeing.
Family Group Conferencing is an integral component of reunification
and decision-making regarding the child’s wellbeing.