Successful Family Reunification: The Contribution of Clinical Social Work

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Masters’-level social work practitioners in child welfare practice discussed their work with successfully reunified families. The majority used theory and found it helpful in conducting ongoing casework and making decisions in the complex area of family reunification. Social work theory, specifically the Life Model and the Problem-Solving Model, provided language to describe and document change and the conditions under which reunification may be justified. Data from the social workers’ presentation of successful family reunification cases were analyzed to examine (1) linkages in the casework interventions with the Life Model and Problem-Solving Model, and (2) constellations of parent and child variables that were evident in the family change process and that justified the caseworkers’ decisions for reunification.