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The decision whether or not to reunify a child in care with their birth family is one of the most serious taken by children’s services, and often involves considerable risk.

This book examines the long-term consequences of this decision for children who entered public care for abuse or neglect. It compares the experiences and progress of children who remained in care or returned to their birth families up to four years after the decision was taken. It covers how the decision is made, the factors taken into account when making it and provides important suggestions for effective decision-making. It compares the progress made by the children in relation to their safety, stability and emotional well-being. The book demonstrates that, contrary to common belief, long-term care can be a positive option for maltreated children.

This book provides important messages for reunification policy and practice in relation to maltreated children. It will be essential reading for social work practitioners, researchers and policy makers.

Reviews

Overall the book provides a useful read for EPs, particularly those who work specifically with looked after children. It reminds all involved in supporting children, young people and their families of the role they play in safeguarding.
Debate
This is a well-written and well-presented book. It is useful for social workers, social work students and professionals working with young people in the public care system faced with making the decision of whether a child should remain looked after or returned home.
PSW
The decision to return a child home after a period in care couldn't be more critical. If you want a comprehensive, evidence-based exploration of the issues and consequences of these life changing professional decisions, then this is a 'must read'.
John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development, British Association for Adoption and Fostering

Safeguarding Children Across Services