The Family Reunification Program (FRP) is designed to successfully reunite children with their families and prevent repeated foster care placements. These goals are accomplished with intensive, home-based services. Since 1999, the FRP has helped united families grow strong and healthy in Kalamazoo, Barry, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties.

Keeping Families Together

The joy of welcoming your children home from foster care can be mixed with challenges. Samaritas is here to help you adjust to living together as a family again. Our Family Reunification Program offers therapy, training and support to keep your family strong and healthy. Together, we can help your family grow and change in positive ways.

Underlying principles of the Family Reunification Program

Children have a right to their family. The family is the focal point of child welfare services.

  • Our first and greatest investment is the care and treatment of children in their own homes. Parents should be supported in their efforts to care for their children.
  • It is in the best interest of the child for his or her family to remain intact in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary.
  • Families are diverse and have a right to be respected for the special cultural, racial, ethnic and religious traditions that make families unique.
  • Children can grow up successfully in different kinds of families. One type of family should not be discriminated against over other types.

Teamwork

Progress can happen if we work together

You will work with a team made up of a Team Leader and a Family Worker. For about four months, your team will meet with you and your family in your home at times convenient for you. During the first two weeks after your children return home, the team will spend about eight hours per week with you, then about four hours per week for the remainder of the four months.

services

We offer a wide variety of supportive services to meet the needs of families in the program

Therapy

  • Family
  • Individual
  • Sibling
  • Couple

Skill-Building

  • Direct teaching
  • Modeling
  • Problem-solving relapse prevention

Environment

  • Safety planning
  • Community support and advocacy
  • Extended family support
  • Household and home improvement

Vocational/Educational

  • Advocacy through area schools
  • Job training
  • Employability skills and education

Recreation

  • Family activities
  • Social networking

Training

  • Ongoing parenting classes
  • Quarterly workshops
  • Education and support
  • Limited emergency respite care

Program Model

Assessments

Strengths, needs, safety and risk

Services

Therapeutic, supportive and concrete, including parenting classes, parenting and family workshops, and family activities

Initial Service Plan

Goals, action plans and monthly progress reports

Two-person family reunification teams

One master's-level team leader and one bachelor's-level family worker

Service duration

Four months, with a possible two-month extension

24-hour/7-day staff availability

Specific assistance to meet concrete family needs

Program Evaluation

The Skillman Foundation evaluated the FRP from 1992 to 1995. Their report emphasized the substantial success of the model:

  • 85% of children who completed the program were reunited with their families.
  • 73% of those children remained safely at home with no further out-of-home placements 12 months after reunification.
  • Children who required a repeat out-of-home placement were returned to their homes more quickly than those who had not received FRP services.

Cost-Effectiveness

The Skillman Foundation report also indicated that the FRP was cost-effective for the State of Michigan. The state saved $5,283 per child during the 18-month period following FRP services.