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June is National Reunification Month


June is National Reunification Month. Reunification is always the primary goal in the cases that our CASAs advocate on.


What does reunification mean?


Reunification is the process of reunited the child with their family with the support of community based services. Children are returned to their family when it is safe enough to do so.


The child welfare system identifies the safety issues that brought the family to the attention on child protective services. In New Mexico that is the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD). Once CYFD removes children from the home and the court has deemed that it is in the child's best interest to remain in the care of the state custody, families are then given a treatment plan with the goal of alleviating the issues and concerns that brought the child into care.


Utilizing community based services and supports, CYFD works with the family to create a network to work alongside the family. Services and supports need to be accessible for families to utilize as well as focus on building on their existing strengths. As the family continues to be successful in achieving the goals on their treatment plans, they receive longer visits that turn into overnights and finally a trial home visit, where the child is placed back in the home under the supervision of CYFD.



In 2021, the Children's Bureau reported that nationally 47% of children were reunited with parent or previous caregiver.


In 2023, Dona Ana County 56% of children were reunited with a parent of previous caregiver.


 


CASAs can be instrumental in the reunification process. The video above is of a mother who worked with support from her CASA to reunify with her children. Below are perspectives from our CASAs at Mesilla Valley CASA that have worked on cases that resulted in reunification.




Our CASA shared that this was her second case she worked as a CASA. She worked as a support for the family, cheering on the relatives who were the resource parents for the children. She was impressed with the parents and their utilization of the resources they were referred to.






The CASA on another case shared that with knowing the nature of the case, she was unsure and nervous of reunification. She worked to support the family and the child in her case. With the support of her CASA supervisor, she was able to take a step back and see the strengths of the family.







The CASA on this case shared a quote on working her case. Reunification is a challenging process for all involved but again, the commitment the mother had for her child was strong. The parent worked hard and the child is now back in her home, where she wants to be.





 

We are always looking for new CASAs, if you are interested in becoming a CASA please click on the image below!



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