Whenever possible, the goal of out-of-home care will be a timely family reunification.
Related Subject: Section 4 Chapter 10.1 Legal Basis, Section 7 Chapter 34 Laws Relating to Custody, Placement and Visitation of Children under the Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court, and Section 4 Chapter 7.2 Lack of Consensus at Family Support Team (FST)/Permanency Planning Review Team (PPRT) Meetings
Family reunification is one of several permanency planning goals that may be recommended by the Family Support Team (FST)/Permanency Planning Review Team (PPRT) for children in out-of-home care. Once family reunification is identified as the permanency goal, a reunification plan for the child shall be developed. This reunification plan shall include a Written Service Agreement, CD-14B, which addresses the child’s health care, and specific services that will be provided to the family during the reunification period after the child has been placed back with the family of origin. Family reunification may be recommended as soon as the family has met the treatment goals and the Family Support Team/PPRT determines that:
- The family can meet the minimal physical and emotional needs of the child with, supportive services if needed; and
- Needed supportive services are available and the family will utilize such services.
NOTE: Restrictions on placement, custody, visitation or reunification for minors who were determined to be either a victim or a perpetrator in an incident of abuse between minors (Section 210.117 RSMo.; Section 210.710 RSMo.; Section 210.720 RSMo.; Section 211.038 RSMo.; and Section 452.412 RSMo.) may present significant difficulties for workers who are working toward reunification; making placement decisions or enrolling children in Division custody in child care or in school.
Related Subject: Section 7 Chapter 34.1 Abuse of a Minor by a Minor
The Children’s Service Worker will notify the family court, in writing, of the FST/PPRT’s recommendation to reunify the family.
The family court must respond with a court order authorizing the change in custody prior to any change in placement occurring. A formal hearing may or may not occur. Custodial arrangements and Children’s Division’s responsibilities will vary with each court order. The order for family reunification usually will be for one of the following:
- Court continues jurisdiction with physical custody granted to the parent and with legal custody retained by the Children’s Division.
- Court continues jurisdiction with legal custody granted to the parent(s) and with the Children’s Division ordered to provide supervision.
- Court grants legal custody to the parent and terminates jurisdiction.