Cheers Today for Michigan's Reunited Families
Friday, June 24, 2016
LANSING, Mich. – There's a special celebration today to honor Michigan families that were once torn apart.
Michigan Reunification Day recognizes parents who have successfully navigated the challenges that caused them to be separated from their children.
Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Timothy Connors explains that when a child is put into foster care it is a traumatic experience, and parents must work to ensure their children can return to a safe environment.
"Every time we take a child away, no matter what the underlying trauma or conflict is, we've added to it,” he points out. “So reunification is really congratulating those parents. That's the most important connection, that's where well-being comes in for a child, that's where permanency comes in for a child."
Eight families that have been reunified will be celebrated at an event today at the Michigan Hall of Justice.
Collins notes that the caseworkers, foster parents and courts that support these families should also be celebrated.
Collins says mental health issues, poverty and substance abuse are among the problems that can contribute to a child being removed from a home.
He adds the community as a whole needs to look at ways to help struggling families.
"Our challenges are to take an honest look and say if we're going to take children away, we need to help them become better parents so that from generation to generation to generation we don't repeat that cycle because at the end of the day, when a court no longer has jurisdiction, who does that child have?” he asks. “They have their family."
At any given time, an estimated 13,000 Michigan children are in foster care.
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