Michigan Family Reunification Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

About This Program

Target Population: Families with children ages 0-17 being reunified from foster care or relative placement

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

The program is designed to assist in an early return to a permanent family for children in out-of-home foster care placement. In addition, it is designed to reduce repeat placement through a planned process of reunifying children in out-of-home care with their families using a variety of services. It is also designed to provide support in achieving and maintaining permanency in the family home.

Program Goals:

The goals of the Michigan Family Reunification Program are:

  • Successful completion of four months of the services
  • No Category I, II, or III preponderance of evidence Protective Services involvement for a 12-month period following replacement of the child(ren) in the family home
  • No removal of child(ren) from the family home and placed in out-of-home care for a 12-month period following replacement in the family home
  • Expressed satisfaction with the services received

Essential Components

The essential components of Michigan Family Reunification Program include:

  • The team leader provides clinical, in-home counseling, and works in conjunction with a family worker who addresses the non-clinical needs of the family (budgeting, parenting, case management, etc)
  • Twelve families are served per team at one time. Each team serves 24-36 families per year.
  • The program is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Specific Assistance funds are used to meet family needs.
  • Direct therapeutic, supportive, and concrete services are used.
  • Thorough assessments measuring on-going strengths, needs, safety, and risk are performed.
  • The Initial Service Plan includes goals, action plans, progress reports.
  • Respite care for children is available for up to five days.
  • Included in this model are a parent education component, quarterly parent workshops, and quarterly family activities.
  • Referrals to the program may be made up to 30 days prior to the reunification.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Michigan Family Reunification Program directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Corporal punishment, neglect, inappropriate developmental expectations, trust and safety issues.

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home


This program does not include a homework component.


Michigan Family Reunification Program does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • The family home and/or community

Special events, such as workshops, group family activities, and the parent education component may be held within a provider agency's building, but we recommend they be within the community.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

  • Team leader – Master's degree in human services, preferably social worker
  • Worker – Bachelor's degree in human services
  • Supervisor – Bachelor's degree in human services

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Informal Consultation.

Number of days/hours:

Informal, no set number of days or hours.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Michigan Family Reunification Program.


Family reunification contracts put new life into home-based family counseling in Michigan (2001, Fall). Practice: Ideas For and From Practitioners. Onondaga, MI:Michigan Home Based Family Services Association.

Skillman Foundation (1999). Evaluation of the Family Reunification Program: Results of the family reunification and foster care comparison study (Final Report). Skillman Foundation: Detroit, MI.

Contact Information

Guy Thompson
Agency/Affiliation: MI Dept. of Human Services
Department: CPS and Family Preservation Programs
Phone: (517) 331-5136

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2006