The goal of a foster care case is set by the court, specifically the presiding juvenile judge. With very few exceptions, reunification of children and parents is the initial goal. Reunification means that the parents will work toward fixing the situation that brought the kids into foster care so that the children can be safely returned home. Parents will be given a case plan with things to complete such as drug treatment, counseling, parenting classes, etc. These services are provided by the Department of Human Services to help the parents become stable caregivers for their children. The case plan is not just a checklist; parents must be able to implement the skills they have learned.
Reunification is an important goal because children love their parents and want to be with their family of origin. As a society, there is real value in rehabilitating parents and stopping the cycle of drug abuse, physical abuse, etc. However, the most crucial consideration is the best interest and safety of the children. When children cannot safely return home, it is the intent for them to find a new permanent home with extended family or adoptive parents.
Answered by Team Lead & Advocate Supervisor Victoria Boyd