Good professional practices for promoting positive parenting and child participation in reunification processes
Professional support of families that are under temporary protection, with the goal of reunification, is necessary for helping families re-establish their family dynamics. Without this support, the conditions that contributed to child abuse and neglect will likely persist. In this context, the attitude of professionals towards positive parenting and child participation is a decisive factor. The quantitative study presented here contributes knowledge regarding these 2 variables. The study was conducted with 106 professionals who work in the child protection system in Spain and Portugal. The results show a high degree of consensus among professionals regarding the following practices: (a) incorporating positive parenting into family reunification processes; (b) training the biological parents in parenting skills; and (c) promoting the active participation of children in foster care and reunification. Regarding the latter point, the study found that older and more experienced professionals are more open and inclined to promote participation in family reunification processes. The practical implications of the results invite us to review attitudinal competencies training for professionals working in child protection services, focusing on encouraging a positive attitude towards the parental competencies of the biological family and the active participation of children in foster care and reunification. These professionals’ attitudes are a key factor in mediating the process of family reunification.