The Practice Points to Ponder developed by the University of South Florida's Training Consortium is a very good training tool that discusses the kinds of factors to consider on when it is safe to return a child to a home environment following removal. In the form of a five point question and answer format, guidance is presented on how to determine the least intrusive safety action necessary — or even if in-home placement is the best idea given safety concerns.
If the children have been removed, what must be different in order for the children to be returned home safely? That's the central question when considering reunification. I think we would all agree, it's not merely the completion of a case plan task that drives that decision.
Discuss this with your fellow staff members and your volunteers. You may even want to invite a local community-based care organization to present a brown bag luncheon on safety planning in the reunification decision. It would be well worth a discussion.
Here is a link to the document. It's only a one-pager but very worth the five minutes!