Change Indicator

Foster Care - Timely reunifications during reporting period in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

While a child is in out-of-home care, the child welfare agency should provide services to ensure that efforts are made to restore the family, and avoid the need for future placement. Unfortunately, if the root cause of the issues that led to the initial placement are not uncovered and alleviated, the child is at risk of entering placement again. With reunification being the primary goal in most cases, it is important to understand if this population of children are re-entering the system within 12 month post-discharge.
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Definition and Source



This indicator shows the number and percent of all children who entered foster care for the first time in a 12-month period and were discharged to reunification with their parents or other relatives in less than 12 months from the date of removal.  Children must have been in foster care eight days or more to be included in this indicator.

Data Source

PPC analysis of AFCARS longitudinal file produced by Public Consulting Group for Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families.


It is important when reviewing reunification data to recognize the interrelationship with re-entry data.  Ideally, children who must enter foster care will be reunified quickly and permanently with their birth parents or relatives – and not experience re-entry into foster care. Some county-level data is also not available for certain years.

S = Suppressed.  Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates). This is due to the unreliability of statistics based on small numbers of events.

Last Updated

January 2024