Reunification is the process of reintegrating a child permanently back to his or her family, which could include extended family, and often involves return to communities of origin. The process is not a one-time event, but is made up of many different steps. Assessing the root causes for the separation from parental care and determining how best to address these is one step in the process. Preparing the child and the family, facilitating access to appropriate services and support, and ongoing monitoring are important elements of any reunification process.
Child-centered reunification is multilayered and focuses on mobilizing and enabling care systems in the community; medical screening and healthcare; education and vocational training; psychosocial support; and social, cultural, and economic support.
Reunification is not always possible or appropriate. When reuniting a child with his or her birth family is determined to be unsafe or not in the best interests of a child, then alternative forms of care—preferably family care—should be considered.