Every year between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, celebrations are held in court jurisdictions across the country to celebrate reunification and to highlight services available to families with children placed outside the home.
The mission of the National CASA Association is to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. Our goal with every case is for a CASA/GAL volunteer to stay paired with a child in care until that child is placed in a safe, permanent home. Whenever possible, our goal, as well as the goal of child welfare systems across the country, is to reunite children with their families. Michael Piraino recently wrote about the importance of reunification and about recognizing the efforts of those parents who are able to put their lives back on track and reunite their families.
The decision to remove a child from his or her home and parents should never be taken lightly. While a living situation may be fraught with abuse, drugs or neglect, families still maintain cultural, racial and social values that often define a child’s sense of identity.
The forced separation of child and parents is a potentially devastating moment. But when those same parents are able to overcome challenges, get their lives back on track and reunite with their children, there is cause for celebration.
The sad truth is that reunification isn’t always possible, and sometimes may not even be in the best interests of a child. In these cases other permanent solutions need to be found, including kinship care or adoption.
In the many cases where reunification is possible, we must ensure that parents have access to the support and resources that will help them succeed.
When they do, we should take a moment to recognize their heroic efforts to overcome substance abuse or other challenges so they can reunite with their children, offering a safe and permanent home in which the bonds of family are strong and thriving.
Read Michael’s entire piece at the Huffington Post.