Preventing Reunification

The title for this post implies that we should prevent reunification.  Shouldn’t we instead promote it?  Well, yes, but reunification would not be necessary if children were not removed from their families.  Reunification is also more difficult to achieve than helping families stay together. How can we prevent unnecessary out-of-home placement?  Let’s begin with a call to action by Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau:

“The passage of the FFPSA (Family First Prevention Services Act) provides an opportunity and an impetus to re-examine fundamentally the child welfare system in the United States, and how it can function better to reverse harmful trends of increased entries of children into the child protection and foster care programs, family separations, and trauma to children and their parents. We strongly encourage you to use this time as an opportunity to ensure that the programs and systems you operate reflect a commitment to the integrity of the parent-child relationship and importance of preventing the trauma of unnecessary family separation. The CB believes reaching children and families sooner through prevention is the key to avoiding unnecessary trauma, disrupting intergenerational cycles of maltreatment, and achieving better outcomes for children and families.”

Now let’s look at some ways to prevent placement.  One prevention practice is “blind removal meetings.”  Due to the disproportionate number of black children placed in foster care, two counties in New York hold pre-placement meetings in which personal and demographic information is removed from the paperwork.  These case review meetings have decreased removals of black children from 57% to 42%.

For more information on blind removal meetings visit: (p. 17)

The state of North Dakota is embarking on the Family Centered Engagement Initiative.  The Initiative brings together parents/caregivers, extended family members, children, service providers, child welfare professionals, juvenile court staff, community partners and others involved in a child’s life.  The purpose is to create an action plan with a family to keep their child out of foster care and a safety plan prioritizing kinship care if the child must be removed.  Families are engaged earlier in decision making and their strengths and need for services identified and addressed.

For more information visit

Home Visitation has become a nationwide initiative. The highest rating for Evidence-Based Practice in home visitation goes to the Nurse-Family Partnership.   Specially trained nurses regularly visit young, first-time moms-to-be, starting early in the pregnancy, and continuing through the child’s second birthday.  It is the most effective intervention to prevent child abuse and neglect.

For more information on the research on the Nurse-Family Partnership visit

There is a bonus to the home visiting program if fathers are involvedFamilies whose fathers participated in at least one home visit were enrolled nearly seven months longer than families whose fathers did not participate in any home visits.

The federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has just issued a memo to encourage all human services agencies to prioritize father engagement as a critical factor in strengthening families.  The memo lists the benefits of father involvement in the lives of children including family stability and social and emotional well-being.

To view the memo visit


Posted by Priscilla Martens

NFPN Executive Director





Fall Resources

The fall season brings a new fiscal year for the federal government and many states. This means agencies are starting new programs and looking for information and resources. Let’s get started!

Assessment Tools

At the beginning and end of the fiscal and calendar years, NFPN sees an increase in customers wanting the assessment tools.  That’s a good indicator agencies are using the tools with new and expanded programs.  Here is some information to consider when looking for an assessment tool:

  • Choose only reliable and valid assessment tools that have a proven track record and that include training, technical assistance, and ongoing research. Otherwise your agency is not only wasting time and money but the families you want to help will have poor outcomes.
  • Policy makers, administrators, and funders want to see reports that show how quality assessments are helping families. The new web database for the NCFAS tools provides report features that can be quickly generated and shared and that include data on both individual and aggregate families.
  • All federal programs and many state programs require trauma-informed practice. NFPN’s Trauma/Post-Trauma Well-Being scale fits the bill as an assessment tool that measures trauma indicators and post-trauma healing.  It’s a comprehensive yet inexpensive tool for initiating trauma-informed practice.
  • There has been a growing increase in the use of assessment tools by home visiting programs and schools. The NCFAS-G is the recommended tool for this use, and NFPN has a new training case example for school-based programs.

For information on all of the assessment tools visit

NFPN has arranged for onsite training on the assessment tools for our customers in Australia and Chile.  Contact NFPN for more details. 

Onsite Training

NFPN is now offering an array of onsite training on a variety of topics including Motivational Interviewing, Assessment/Treatment of substance use disorders, Relapse Prevention, Clinical Supervision, Trauma-Informed Care, and many more.

Please contact NFPN to see how we can meet your training needs:, 888-498-9047.

Father Involvement

The Fathers and Families Center in Indianapolis celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Center provides services for fathers on parenting, education, and work skills as well as co-parenting classes and couples counseling for both moms and dads.  For more information on this high-quality center visit

The Safe and Together Institute has a paper on being father-inclusive in child welfare cases that involve domestic violence.  The Institute is a national leader in balancing the need to work with fathers involved in domestic violence while protecting mothers and children.  Anyone working with these families should read this article:

James McHale, University of South Florida, is conducting research on father involvement and domestic violence.  In a current study, only 15% of the families were considered unsafe for participation.  For more information visit

Teen Drug Use

Teens are becoming addicted to a non-opioid drug, see file:///C:/Users/User/Documents/Opioids–Xanax.html

Free classroom lessons/resources for K-12 to prevent drug misuse are available here:

Posted by Priscilla Martens

NFPN Executive Director

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