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Partnering with parents: Promising approaches to improve reunification outcomes for children in foster care.

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This paper evaluates the Parent Partner Program. The principal goal of the Parent Partner Program is to help parent clients gain awareness of their rights and responsibilities, and to assist parents toward reunification with their children. Parent Partners are selected because of the successes they have experienced in overcoming significant obstacles, changing patterns of personal behavior that diminished their parenting skills, and by acknowledging the role of child welfare in motivating them to re-prioritize their family.

Evaluation Summary

The outcome study included data from two groups of children: 236 children whose parents were served by Contra Costa County during the time period July 2005 – March 2008, and whose parent worked with a Parent Partner following removal of their child, along with a matched comparison group of 55 children whose parents were served by Contra Costa County in 2004, before the Parent Partner Program was established. Groups were matched based on ethnicity, case intervention reason, substance use, child age, and child gender. Cases were examined 12 months following case opening to determine reunification status. Results indicate that reunification may be more likely for children whose parents were served by Parent Partners. Approximately 60% of children whose parent engaged with a Parent Partner reunified within 12 months post removal, compared to 26% of children whose parents were not served.


Subjects: Advocacy Research, Best practice, Key text, Parent advocacy