Failed reunifications are a perpetual problem in child welfare and can have devastating effects on families and lasting consequences on the wellbeing of children (Hatton & Brooks, 2008). Failed adoptions can also have devastating effects on the wellbeing of children. Reducing the number of failed reunifications and adoptions by stabilizing families is one of the premier challenges of the child welfare system. In order to reduce reentry into foster care, parents need to work closely with case managers and engage in a combination of preventive programs and aftercare services. By engaging in long-term aftercare services, parents can improve their own problem-solving skills and reduce the possibility of a crisis that results in a relapse of the conditions that brought their children into care. These same long-term services can also help to stabilize adoptions.
This overview of recidivism in foster care and adoption will explore the scope of re-entry into foster care and the factors that contribute to children returning to foster care after reunification with their parents. This course will also discuss preventative measures that may reduce the numbers of failed reunifications by providing parents with services and skills that will make them more effective in addressing their needs and the needs of their children.