Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 221–240 | Cite as

Family Reunification of Youth in Foster Care with Complex Mental Health Needs: Barriers and Recommendations

  • Elissa E. Madden
  • Erin J. Maher
  • Ruth G. McRoy
  • Kristin J. Ward
  • Laura Peveto
  • Ann Stanley


This study presents findings of a formative evaluation of an innovative pilot program designed to reunify and reintegrate foster youth with complex mental and behavioral needs in residential treatment centers or therapeutic foster care with their families in the community. Data collection methods included in-depth structured case file reviews and semi-structured interviews with the youth, as well as their caregivers, Child Protective Services caseworkers, and pilot program staff. The participants provided important insights regarding system, program, and case-level barriers to the successful reunification of these youth back into the community. Training, practice, and policy recommendations are discussed.


Child welfare Reunification Permanency Foster care Residential treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elissa E. Madden
    • 1
  • Erin J. Maher
    • 2
  • Ruth G. McRoy
    • 3
  • Kristin J. Ward
    • 2
  • Laura Peveto
    • 4
  • Ann Stanley
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Casey Family ProgramsSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Boston CollegeBostonUSA
  4. 4.Travis County Health and Human Services & Veterans ServiceAustinUSA

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