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Love, Comfort, Safety and Support: National Reunification Month Wrap-upPosted Date: 07/06/2017
By: Keith Metz, DHS Communications Specialist
Over the past few weeks, we have been sharing reunification success stories from across the state. We learned about Rosie and the redemptive power of a strong, positive support system. We heard from Jesse and Krystal and witnessed their willingness to focus on their children’s well-being above all else as they worked to create a new normal for their family. Lastly, we got to know Misty and Justin and learned of their passion for and dedication to reunifying families by healing and repairing the lives of the children in their care and their parents.
And we could have shared so many more success stories. Though National Reunification Month is over, we will continue to share success stories and work toward broader acceptance of reunification because it is the most common goal in our cases with families, and it’s also our most common outcome. Last year, 44 percent of the children who left foster care in Arkansas were reunified with their biological parents. An additional 28 percent were reunified with biological relatives. Another 20 percent were adopted, which means that Arkansas exceeded the national average of 80 percent of children either going home, to a relative, or to an adoptive home.
For most of us, home is about love, comfort, safety and support, and we want to empower parents to become the loving, comforting, safe and supportive presence that their children need and deserve. This is why reunification is so important.
It takes an incredible amount of teamwork to realize these goals for our children and families. Investigators make the initial assessments of risk and safety and put foundational services in place to help. Caseworkers assess a family’s strengths and needs even further as they collaborate with the family to determine the best path to success for them. Supervisors monitor the bigger picture, coordinating agency efforts and guiding the tea