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PREPARING FOR FAMILY REUNIFICATION
Miriam Galindo
INTRODUCTION
 As a privately practicing psychotherapist in Irvine, California, Dr. Miriam
Galindo helps many families to prepare for reunification after temporarily
placing a child or children in state custody. Dr. Miriam Galindo also
serves as a psychologist with Families in Transition, collaborating in
reunification therapy interventions.
When the time comes for a family to prepare for reunification, parents
must remember that both they and their children have had impactful
experiences in the intervening time. Parents may need to remind
themselves of all that they have learned to help them keep their children
safe, meet their needs, and secure help when it is needed. These
abilities are all necessary for successful reunification but may be new to
the parents.
Parents can use this newfound knowledge to assess their home and
make sure that it is a welcoming place for the children. There should be
plenty of toys, books, and other child-centered items, as well as places
nearby that the children can go for enrichment. There should also be
people nearby to whom the parent can go if and when he or she feels
overwhelmed.
FAMILY REUNIFICATION
 Perhaps the most important element, however, is
emotional preparation. Parents should be aware that it is
normal and expected for all parties to experience many
different feelings, including excitement and relief as well
as stress, insecurity, and even ambivalence. Children
may feel angry at their parents, and parents may feel
rejected or upset that their children do not comprehend all
that they have been through.
Parents must be ready to deal with these feelings while
giving children a sense of security and safety. Foster care
can be a difficult and frightening experience, even in a
good situation, and it is vitally important that the parents
reestablish the family home as a secure base, even when
things get difficult and emotions run high.

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Preparing for Family Reunification

  • 1. PREPARING FOR FAMILY REUNIFICATION Miriam Galindo
  • 2. INTRODUCTION  As a privately practicing psychotherapist in Irvine, California, Dr. Miriam Galindo helps many families to prepare for reunification after temporarily placing a child or children in state custody. Dr. Miriam Galindo also serves as a psychologist with Families in Transition, collaborating in reunification therapy interventions. When the time comes for a family to prepare for reunification, parents must remember that both they and their children have had impactful experiences in the intervening time. Parents may need to remind themselves of all that they have learned to help them keep their children safe, meet their needs, and secure help when it is needed. These abilities are all necessary for successful reunification but may be new to the parents. Parents can use this newfound knowledge to assess their home and make sure that it is a welcoming place for the children. There should be plenty of toys, books, and other child-centered items, as well as places nearby that the children can go for enrichment. There should also be people nearby to whom the parent can go if and when he or she feels overwhelmed.
  • 3. FAMILY REUNIFICATION  Perhaps the most important element, however, is emotional preparation. Parents should be aware that it is normal and expected for all parties to experience many different feelings, including excitement and relief as well as stress, insecurity, and even ambivalence. Children may feel angry at their parents, and parents may feel rejected or upset that their children do not comprehend all that they have been through. Parents must be ready to deal with these feelings while giving children a sense of security and safety. Foster care can be a difficult and frightening experience, even in a good situation, and it is vitally important that the parents reestablish the family home as a secure base, even when things get difficult and emotions run high.