Family and Children Together (FACT)
Family reunification in child welfare refers to the process of children/youth in out-of-home care returning home and reconnecting with their biological families. Our FACT program (Families and Children Together) was established to assist birth parents in attaining the goals needed to reunify with their children. It grew out of the doctoral work of founder Dr. Sharon McDaniel in applied learning, as she noticed that adoption was an option for many children coming into kinship care, but reunification with their birth parents was not. Her goal was to give children and youth a continuum of care that would lead them back to their homes.
How is FACT distinguished from traditional foster care reunification?
Our foundational value for family is reflected in our FACT program, which stresses the rebuilding of the family structure as opposed to isolating reunification as a procedural process to return children home. This focus on a family-driven process is hallmarked by intentional triad participation: the child/youth, birth family and caregiver. The values-based lens for family is more inclusive and better reduces the chance of reentry into the system. Additionally, we see reunification as a continuum and thus, consider pre- and post-reunification services essential for success.
What are the three pillars of the FACT strategy?
Purposeful triad connection: We intentionally provide the triad with the proper tools, skills, therapy and other services on a continual basis, in order to successfully achieve reunification. The involvement of the kinship caregiver in the process is important, as they can be influential in easing the transition for the child and assisting the biological parents in rebuilding the family structure.
Engagement: Family meetings bring in family and extended family in a safe environment to talk about providing a secure and nurturing home for children. Families are empowered to share their plans for exiting, visitation and, finally, reunification. This process is critical to understanding the end goal of the children returning home and ensuring every stakeholder is moving in the same direction.
Integrated service delivery: FACT staff work in collaboration with both the kinship caseworker as well as the county/public caseworker to provide short-term, intensive services to birth parents and their children. Importantly, the triad is seen as part of the integrated service, not separate from it.
Services That Actively Engage Birth Parents
Parents on a Mission is an eight-week parenting program, during which parents will learn about discipline, anger management, self-esteem, self-concept and parenting 101. Upon completion of this course, parents receive a certificate they may take to court to show that they are in compliance. ASCI staff works with ACCYF and other professionals to provide information on the parents’ progress in class. We take pride in helping our parents and assisting them with resources they may need to be successful in their future.
Week 1: Intro to Parenting, Topic Self-Esteem and Self-Concept
Week 2: Anger Management
Week 3: Child Development
Week 4: Positive Discipline
Week 5: Personal Power and Control
Week 6: Discipline vs. Punishment
Week 7: Overcoming Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Week 8: Budgeting
Coached Parenting is a six-week program where we provide one-on-one training with parents and their children. We practice disciple vs. punishment, assess child needs and developmental growth and review basic care. This program allows parents to get hands-on with their children.
Week 1: Questions, Concerns and Open Discussion
Week 2: Observation (i.e., watch how parent interacts with child)
Week 3: Developmental Stages
Week 4: Discipline vs. Punishment
Week 5: Dealing with Tantrums
Week 6: Outing
Parents on a Mission
This is a support group for birth parents, as well as community parents. We provide help and support to all parents, with an emphasis on being an outlet through which to talk about solutions to their problems and to give them a break. Therefore, we provide childcare and dinner for everyone. We go on outings and participate in team-building activities. There are guest speakers who come in to discuss budgeting, meal prep, self-defense, bulling prevention and more.
Week 1: Meet and Greet/Open Discussion
Week 2: Stress Relief
Week 3: Love Yourself
Week 4: CPR
Week 5: Movie Night
Week 6: Budgeting
Week 7: Goals
Week 8: Food Demo, Healthy Eating and Meal Prep
Week 9: Helping Your Child Feel Good About Themselves
Week 10: Bullying
Week 11: Self-Defense
Week 12: Outing
For more information about FACT services, please contact Brandi Meriwether at 412-508-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.