June is National Reunification Month!

“Reunifying children back with a parent is one of the best possible outcomes in dependency neglect cases because when that happens it means the parent has remedied the underlying issues and has shown that the child will be safe with that parent. CASA’s work creates an understanding of the child’s perspective and insight into what’s in the child’s best interest.  CASA volunteers work closely not only with the child, but also the parents, ad litems, DHS staff, counselors and others. This provides a unique and comprehensive look at these cases which is vital to the process of reunification.  CASA volunteers are invaluable to reunification!” – Honorable Judge Stacey Zimmerman

Each June, we recognize National Reunification Month, and take some time to celebrate the individuals and organizations that are putting in the work to support, strengthen, and preserve families.

The case goal for nearly every family involved in a foster care case is to be reunified as soon as safely possible. Aligning with the 2020 National CASA/GAL Standards, we recognize that:

  • It is in a child’s best interest to remain with their family of origin whenever possible
  • Children experience trauma when separated from their family of origin
  • If a child is removed from their family of origin, it is in the child’s best interest to be reunified with their family as soon as safely possible

Removing children from their families is, in its very nature, traumatizing. Removal causes trauma to children and to their parents, and this damage can impact a family system for generations. By being passionate advocates for safe and supported reunifications, we can help empower families to heal and reconnect.

CASA volunteers play an important role in supporting families to reunification by:

  • Helping foster families and biological families connect and communicate to build trusting and positive partnerships.
  • Assisting biological families as they access supportive services and increase family stability
  • Advocating for opportunities for quality family time to maintain and build healthy connections between biological family members and their children.
  • Exploring options for family placements and family contact. Family or kinship placements can minimize the trauma associated with removal from home, ease anxieties often associated with traditional foster placements, and maintain cultural ties for children.

CASA of Northwest Arkansas is proud to partner with families in the work of reunification. Every day, CASA volunteers find ways to support the biological family members on their cases. Whether by providing information about community resources, pushing for consistent and meaningful family time, or just being a listening ear to a parent in need, these volunteers believe deeply in the power of reconnection.

The work of reunification is hard. It requires a lot on the part of the family and those who are working to support the family. But when this hard work pans out, when children can be reunited with their families in a secure and loving environment, that makes all the effort worth it.

You can learn more about the impact of our volunteers here.