Written by Foster Team
Reunification is the goal of the vast majority of foster care situations. In Washington State, approximately 57% of children placed in out-of-home care were reunited with their parents within three years. But, it should be higher. Supporting a child and their family toward reunification is a selfless and loving gift that foster parents offer to thousands of families every year.
In Washington State, approximately 57% of children placed in out-of-home care were reunited with their parents within three years.
We understand that reunification can be difficult for foster parents, especially after they’ve bonded with their foster child. But, you should know that you're not alone. The foster community is here to support you through reunification. The first step toward coping with reunification is understanding why it's the goal in the majority of situations. Here’s why.
1) Better Outcomes
Imagine being a child who has to move from home to home, meeting new strangers, attending new schools, and having to make new friends every few months or years. When children return to live with their biological parents, they’re less likely to have to transition, or change homes again.
2) Positive Impact on Biological Parents
Often, children are placed in out-of-home care because their biological parents are battling their own issues, like addiction or financial instability. As a foster parent, you give biological parents the chance to catch up and get healthy, a lifestyle they’re more likely to maintain if they’re held accountable to take care of their child again through reunification. You're not just fostering reunification, you're fostering a future in which parents and children can thrive.
3) Better Development Outcomes
When children have consistent, stable routines in loving homes, they're more likely to thrive in school and social settings when compared to those that remain in foster care.
4) Less Stress for Children
Changing homes is a stressful experience for any child. Reunification allows them to return to a stable, consistent environment, with routines they know and understand. It's just one of the ways foster parents promote better mental health, lower stress, and happier lives for children.
5) Positive Ties to Extended Families
Reunification doesn’t just support a child and their biological parents, it also supports their extended family, who don’t have to divide their support between a child’s foster family and biological family.
Are you ready to foster reunification for a family who needs you? If you live in Washington State, we can help. Get more info on becoming a foster parent.