Reunification is a systemic process intended to rebalance the quality of the child(ren)’s relationship with each parent when one parent has not had contact with the child(ren) for at least 6 months. The hope of reunification is that it will result in the re-establishing of the parent/child relationship and that the family members will learn and practice skills leading to healthier functioning in the future.
At Ascend, reunification requires the following:
- The active participation and support of both parents
- The willingness of the parents (in most situations) to attend joint sessions
- Cooperation between a child therapist and parent therapist who work as a team
- Releases of information signed by family members to allow full disclosure of information between all Ascend providers and both parents
- Releases of information for Ascend to speak freely with other providers and individuals who can help us better understand the family situation
- The agreement of the parents that the children’s information will only be shared with parents at the discretion of Ascend providers
- Ability of the family to attend daytime appointments
- Willingness of the family to attend sessions in more than one Ascend location, depending on provider availability (Some of our locations do not offer reunification services, some offer only child services, and some only parent services, so the location of each session is different based on the providers assigned to each family.)
- A court order for reunification services at Ascend Family Institute (see Forms section for a copy of our Model Court Order for Reunification Services for your review)
- The payment of a $5,000 deposit
Reunification is not a forensic evaluation or a process that will result in custody recommendations. Ascend may make recommendations regarding possible next steps likely to support the reunification goals, but legal recommendations or custody recommendations are outside our scope of competency when we are acting as providers of reunification services.
This reunification services model offers several advantages. Reunification services are structured, with expectations for frequency of attendance for all family members, so problems are addressed proactively before they escalate. Also, the entire family participates in reunification, so children feel that their whole family is working together and they are not left alone to tackle these difficult family issues.
NOTE: Ascend does not accept insurance for most of the charges associated with reunification services. Sometimes, one or more family members needs therapeutic support during the reunification process and might chose an Ascend provider. In this case, those services may be billable to insurance, but families should anticipate all reunification sessions and charges will be billed at a rate of $175/hour and deducted directly from the deposit.
Ascend is currently offering reunification services only to families (parents) that have first attended a parenting course designed to move parents to a child-focused pattern of co-parenting.
These courses are offered through The Bridging Center in Bloomington.
Resist/Refuse Intervention Readiness
This course is for families in which one parent has not had contact with the child(ren) for 6+ months, and reunification has been ordered:
- Registration will be open on The Bridging Center website on April 7th, 2020. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about this class until that time.
- The reunification preparedness class will offer recommendations that either the family is ready to proceed to reunification, or give specific recommendation on what each parent needs to work on prior to reunification starting.
- Once the program has been completed and both parents have either been deemed ready or have completed the recommended next steps, Ascend Family Institute will agree to a consultation for your family for reunification services to see how we would be able to assist you.
Although there are a variety of reasons that families begin reunification services, we have found that the underlying foundation for success in each of these family systems relies on a working relationship between the parents to accomplish aligned goals for the children.
Without this foundation of child-focused parenting assessed, Ascend will not agree to begin work with a new family.
The first step in the process is to attend the reunification preparedness class through The Bridging Center.
After both parents have completed the course from The Bridging Center, we will schedule a one-hour consultation with an Ascend provider to discuss your individual case. The fee for a reunification consultation is $100. During this meeting, a provider will meet with both parents to answer questions related to the reunification process and help you determine whether your individual case is appropriate for Ascend.
There are several possible outcomes of this meeting, and those outcomes will determine how we move forward:
- Reunification is not suggested at this time
- A different type of family therapy is suggested for you
- A formal reunification assessment is required due to the complexity of the case
- Your case is determined to be appropriate for Ascend. In this circumstance, both parents need to communicate during the consultation their willingness to participate in the process in order to join the wait list.
Our receptionists do not speak over the phone with potential clients for reunification services. To request a consultation with an Ascend provider to discuss your specific situation and questions, please fill out the contact form below. Someone will contact you, usually within 3 business days, to schedule your consultation session. You will be asked to pay the $100 fee for the session via credit card over the phone to secure the hour on a provider’s schedule.
Most reunification consultations take place in our Bloomington office.
If you have already been ordered for reunification services, the Ascend provider will review your current order to see if there will be any changes required prior to Ascend taking on your case. It is likely Ascend will require clients to have the Ascend Model Court Order provided on this page.
Please note: When an opening becomes available for your family, you will be required to submit your deposit, signed Reunification Services Agreement and signed Safe Harbor Agreement within one week of notification. If one party is unable or unwilling to submit the deposit and the signed documents, we will move on to the next family that fits our current availability. Please be prepared to address any questions you have regarding these documents and/or the deposit during the consultation meeting.