Reunifying children with their families
June is National Reunification Month which was initiated by the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, with the goal of promoting reunification for families who have been separated.
Executive Director of CASA Kane County Jim Di Ciaula states,
“CASA Kane County supports families to overcome challenges they were or currently are facing. We were thrilled that last year in 2022, 73 children reunited with their parents after they put in the time and effort to receive the treatment needed to establish a safe home environment.”
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) celebrates reunification cases and truly believes that when parents can get the help they need and children can be returned to a safe home that is the best outcome. When reunification is not possible, CASA helps to provide the wonderful option of adoption providing safe and nurturing homes for children in care.
Family reunification is an essential goal in the foster care system. The primary aim is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children while working towards the reunification of children with their biological families whenever possible. The process involves addressing the underlying issues that led to the child’s placement in foster care and providing support services to parents and families to help them overcome challenges and create a stable and safe home environment.
Reunification holds immense importance for individuals, families, and communities. It offers an opportunity for healing, growth, and the restoration of relationships. Parents being reunited with their children after a period of separation with work towards self-improvement in the process of reunification brings about positive transformation and can contribute to the overall well-being of individuals and society.
Featured are reunification and return home stories CASA Kane County has recently heard from our Advocate Supervisors.
CASA Advocate Supervisor Danielle shared,
“I had a successful return home in April! The case was open for 7 months, the minor was a 12-year-old girl. The case closed at a status hearing and she was successfully returned home to her father in April 2023! The child in care had been living with her father since the case opened in October of 2022. The father did not have required services to complete and the services the mother had to engage in was parenting classes, individual therapy and substance use services.”
CASA Advocate Supervisor Ashley shared,
“A case came in for significant Domestic Violence as the mom was abused pretty badly by her boyfriend. Since the case came in, Mom has cut communication with the boyfriend and focused on herself and her children. Mom completed parenting education classes, parent coaching session, domestic violence victims’ classes, and individual therapy.
Mom has also secured housing for her and the children, despite having a learning disability she is working on completing her GED and just got a job at Walmart! She never missed a single visit, nor did she ever miss a single class or therapy session she was supposed to attend, despite having transportation issues.
This mom is the “poster parent” for learning from the services and correcting the conditions that brought her children into care! The case had been open for 17 months and there were two children taken into care.
I have not yet seen a parent do so much to get her children back and never once complained!!!”
CASA Advocate Supervisor Cara shared,
“There were two similar cases I oversaw, that were both returned home to dad who was not originally the custodial parent.
On one case, dad was actively involved in the child’s life; on the other, he had not been involved due to issue with mom. Both of these dad’s stepped up and completed services. They both engaged in parent education, parent coaching, individual therapy, and family therapy.
On both cases, there were some parties involved that weren’t comfortable with dad being the return home option due to them not originally being the custodial parent; however, both dads proved they were willing and ready to do what they needed to do to bring their children home to a safe environment. We often have non-custodial parents involved in our cases due to the fact that DCFS is required to explore them as an option. Sometimes we are shown why they haven’t been a part of their child’s life and they continue to not be a good option. Other times, we get to see just what these parents can provide for their children now that previous barriers aren’t in their way.
Anytime a child gets to reconnect with a safe parent and have more people on their team loving them and fighting for them, it’s a win!”
CASA Advocate Supervisor Alexis shared a successful return home:
“One of my cases had a successful return home of three minors. Ages were 7, 6, and 1. The minors that were 7 and 6 minors were in care for 2 years and the 1-year-old was in care for just one year.
Originally, parents were struggling with the reason why the case came into care and challenged DCFS and CASA a lot with some push back. However, they found a new therapist in the middle of last year that became a huge part of the return home. The parents had a rapport with this therapy provider that allowed them to open up to the hard conversations DCFS and CASA were trying to get them to understand and talk through.
The parents were engaged and completed the services below for the return home.
Random Drug Screens
With the team working together and ultimately parents putting in the hard work they were able to progress through therapy. From there unsupervised visits and overnight visits were approved, and they were able to go home.”
Let’s celebrate the families who have done the hard work and are able to reunite.
Become a CASA/GAL Volunteer and be a part of these success stories. Lend your time and skills to help a family get back on track.
Want More Information About Volunteering?
CASA would like to invite you to join them on mission. If you are 21 or older and have 5-15 hours a month to give a child – YOU can be a CASA!
CASA Kane County is a nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for the best interest of children in abuse and neglect situations throughout Northern Illinois. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem) volunteers are specially trained to become the objective voice of a child for a judge.
CASA Kane County is currently seeking VOLUNTEERS! To learn more and Change a Child’s Story, please visit the organization’s website at www.casakanecounty.org or call 630-232-4484.