Family Reunification Services
Family Reunification services may be ordered by the Court for the parents to regain physical custody of their child. The family reunification services are meant to alleviate the circumstances that led to the removal of their child.
There are circumstances in which the court may not let the parents have family reunification services, including but not limited to: prior child abuse that resulted in a death of a sibling, prior child removal from the parents, the cancellation of past family reunification services, or serious drug or psychiatric problems that are not being treated.
If family reunification services are granted of a child that is under the age of three, the law restricts these services to six months from the date of disposition but no longer than twelve months from the date the child entered foster care, unless the court makes findings of substantive parental progress and substantial probability of a safe return home within the next review period. Time is of the essence and the law recognizes that very young children are especially vulnerable to lack of permanency. For more information, see the Placement and Permanency Planning page on this website. Welfare and Institutions Code § 361.5(a)(1)(B)
If at this disposition hearing the court orders the child to remain or be placed in custody, concurrent planning commences. The purpose of concurrent planning is to honor the child’s attachment needs and to expedite a permanent home for the child should reunification fail. For more information, see the Concurrent Planning page on this website.