Pulaski County Reunification Celebration
June 23, 2023
Pulaski County to Celebrate National Reunification Month
Pulaski County Juvenile Court, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), foster parents, service providers, and community members will gather at a special event this week to honor parents involved with the child welfare system who have successfully reunited with their children.
Every June, communities across the country observe National Reunification Month by celebrating families and increasing awareness of ways to provide support and safety nets for them. Pulaski County Reunification Day 2023 is set for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 24 at Mosaic Church, 6221 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock. Food and activities including family photos will be available during the event.
“Whether you are part of an organization looking for ways to strengthen the community, an individual interested in serving as a resource for families working toward reunification, a current volunteer or stakeholder, or a community member who supports families, you do not want to miss this celebration,” said Division of Children and Family Services Director Tiffany Wright. “We are so excited to be celebrating local families that have been successfully reunited over the past several years with the support of relatives, friends, nonprofit service providers, faith communities, agencies and the court system.”
When children enter foster care, the first priority is to reunite them with their parents as soon as it is safely possible. Foster care was never designed as a permanent or even long-term solution. In fact, each year an average of 43 percent of children who enter foster care statewide are reunited with their families within 12 months.
“Our celebration of Reunification Day represents the fulfillment of the judicial system’s ultimate goal — to restore families, mend the broken bonds, and give children the opportunity to thrive in an environment where they are cherished and supported,” said Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tjuana Byrd Manning. “Every child deserves a chance to rebuild their lives within the nurturing embrace of their parents.”
“Reunification is not just a legal process; it is a celebration of love and resilience,” said Pulaski County Circuit Judge Shanice Johnson. “It is a testament to the collaborative efforts of families, social workers, and the judicial system, working together to ensure that children find their way back to the loving arms of their parents. We are excited to celebrate the transformative power of family bonds and the importance of keeping families intact and supporting parents to provide a nurturing environment for their children.”
During this year’s celebration, attendees will not only hear from the presiding judges, DCFS and community partners, but also from members of a newly formed Parent Advisory Board known as the Parent Warrior Circle (the Circle). The Circle was created by parents with lived expertise, along with the support of DCFS and community partners like 100 Families.
“Families are the backbone of our community,” said Paul Chapman, Director of Restore Hope. “Today our community is stronger because these families are together again. That is reason to celebrate. May God bless these parents and children and us through them.”
Latoya, reunified mother and a representative from the Parent Warrior Circle, said that “being reunified with her children was the most important moment in her life and being honored for it and talking about in this way will help all of us to do more for our children.”