FamilyConnections’ Reunity House
About This Program
Target Population: Families that are separated due to allegations of child abuse and neglect and parents with children in out-of-home placement
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18
FamilyConnections’ Reunity House provides therapeutic supervised visitation for families whose goal is reunification. Visitation occurs in a home-like setting on location, or in community or home settings. Families progress through the program within a ‘Phase’ system, which provides increased visitation time and increased autonomy. In addition to visitation services, group, individual, couples, and family therapy is provided to these same families. Aftercare provides in-home services to families to continue to support the family following reunification.
FamilyConnections, Inc. programs utilize the Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency Model (ARC), to enhance attachment for the child and parent, increase regulation skills, build on competencies, and integrate the trauma that has impacted the family. Some families also participate in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), Motivational Interviewing, and other models as appropriate.
The goals of FamilyConnections’ Reunity House are:
- Parents demonstrate increased parental capacity/readiness
- Families achieve permanency within 12 months
- Reunified families have no new substantiations of abuse/neglect within 12 months of reunification
- Parents maintain bonds with their children
- Parents learn new skills to enhance the parent-child relationship
- Parents improve parenting skills
- Parents gain skills and increase motivation to complete services to decrease the time children remain in care
- Parents reunify with children in a trauma-informed way
The essential components of FamilyConnections’ Reunity House include:
- FamilyConnections’ Reunity House, ideally set up as a business in a house located on a residential street, receives referrals from local Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) caseworker and makes outreach to families to schedule an intake within 24 hours of receiving the referral.
- Reunity House Clinician conducts a thorough psychosocial assessment with the parent who has been separated from their child due to allegations of abuse and neglect.
- Reunity House Clinician schedules the first visit within two weeks of completing the intake, coordinating with the parent and child’s schedule, with input from the resource parent.
- Families begin services in Phase I, which includes a once weekly, one-hour visit and once weekly FamilyConnections’ Reunity House parenting skills groups.
- Reunity House staff provides transportation for the children to and from the visit, providing the child with the opportunity to debrief and be supported by the same person weekly.
- Reunity House Clinician ideally meets with the parent before and after the visit to debrief the previous visit and plan for the next visit; this can be before or after the group if the parent’s schedule does not allow time for both.
- Treatment plans are created with the parent to work on specific goals that could include increased opportunities for bonding, parenting skill development, safe communication within the family, and other specific goals working towards repairing the relationship and preparing for reunification.
- The 12-week parenting skills groups focus on parenting skills such as increasing attunement to the children, helping to express emotions, providing consistent and safe discipline, and other skills to help the family move forward from the trauma of separation and what might have occurred prior to separation.
- Peer support is an important component of parenting skills groups in which other parents going through similar situations can connect, learn from each other, and support each other towards their goals.
- As the family attends visits consistently, and is working on their treatment goals, they progress to Phase II which increases visits to two hours weekly, and could decrease intervention and supervision.
- Reunity House staff attends Family Team Meetings with the DCPP staff and families to ensure collaboration, communication, and that everyone is working towards the same goals.
- Case Management services are available to help families obtain and locate resources for concrete needs, such as housing, food, clothing, employment, etc.
- As the court and DCPP have communicated that the family is approaching reunification, the family progresses to Phase III of the program, in which there is increased visitation time, decreased supervision, increased community and home visits, and the opportunity to host an overnight at one of the Reunity House locations.
- The overnight provides an opportunity for the family to stay in one of three apartment-like units in which the family can go through the dinner time, bathtime, overnight, and morning routines with Reunity House staff on site.
- Following reunification, Reunity House staff provide in-home services to support the family in the adjustment home, as well as continue building on parenting skills, and relationships.
FamilyConnections’ Reunity House directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- The parents are involved due to an allegation of abuse or neglect that could be related to their own trauma, mental health, or substance abuse history, as well as other psychosocial factors.
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:
This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Supports, including other family members, close family friends, and service providers as approved, are welcome to attend visits and meetings as a support to the parent working towards reunification, and to maintain the relationship with the children, if they were involved in the child’s life prior to separation. Supports are incorporated on a limited basis determined by how often they would be involved with the caregiving routine following reunification to allow the main caregiver/parent to have therapeutic time on their own. Supports are encouraged to attend meetings, including Family Team Meetings as a support for the parent. Clinician obtains collateral contacts with other service providers to coordinate services and treatment plans towards reunification.
In Phase 1: 1-hour weekly visits, Phase 2: 2-hour weekly visits, Phase 3: 2 or more hours weekly visits and potential for overnight visits lasting from 5 PM until 12 PM the following day, Aftercare: 1-hour weekly visits, decreasing as appropriate for up to a year following reunification
The goal is for families to reach permanency within 12 months of beginning the program. Once the family has reunified, the program will support the family in home for up to a year.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Birth Family Home
- Community Agency
This program does not include a homework component.
FamilyConnections’ Reunity House has materials available in languages other than English:
For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
A homelike setting (i.e., couches, living room tables, family friendly decorations, age appropriate toys and games, areas to cook, therapeutic games and activities, etc.)
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
Clinicians providing therapeutic visitation are required to have a Master’s degree in social work, counseling, or a related field, and are supervised towards full licensure. Case Managers have a Bachelor’s degree
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.
- Kelly Sachter, LCSW, Director of Programs
phone: (862) 400-1711
Training is obtained:
Onsite, as well as Relias online trainings
Number of days/hours:
Varies depending on role and learner
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for FamilyConnections’ Reunity House.
Mallon, G., & Hess, P. (2014). Child welfare for the 21st century: A handbook of practices, policies, and programs (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. (2012). Family/child visiting. Retrieved from Hunter College’s website: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/family-child-visiting.html
Weintraub, A. (2008, April). Information packet: Parent-child visiting. Retrieved from Hunter College’s website: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/information_packets/Parent-Child_Visiting.pdf
- Kelly Sachter, LCSW
- Agency/Affiliation: FamilyConnections, Inc.
- Website: www.familyconnectionsnj.org/programs-and-services/reunity-houses
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (862) 400-1711
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2018
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2018
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2018