Many professionals who work with substance-affected families consider the time limits prescribed by the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) to be unrealistically short. The high prevalence of substance use in child welfare cases requires professionals to quickly determine when it is safe to reunify children placed because of abuse or neglect in concert with this serious family problem. This exploratory study identified similarities and differences on different indicators of safe reunification between judges who hear juvenile cases, private agency child welfare caseworkers, and substance abuse counselors. The study examined these professionals' rating of the importance of each indicator. Judges, caseworkers, and counselors from a large midwestern state were surveyed. All groups agreed on the importance of 15 of the 19 identified areas of functioning. Judges and substance abuse counselors significantly differed onfourfactors; counselors and caseworkers differed on two. Implications of the findings for practice are discussed.

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