The Family Defense Center hosted the first ever National Reunification Day celebration in Chicago on June 19, 2010. Endorsed by the American Bar Association’s Children and the Law Center, National Reunification Day started in Iowa as a way to recognize the importance of family reunification after families are separated by child protection authorities. For many families, the achievement of reunification requires overcoming many personal as well as bureaucratic obstacles. Families need to celebrate their own achievements as well has focus on helping others to heal.
Families involved with the Family Defense Center made National Reunification Day an advocacy/organizing conference as well as a celebration. Karl Dennis, long-time director of Kaleidoscope Inc. and one of the original designers of WrapAround services to keep children in their homes and communities was the keynote speaker. Prof. Dorothy Roberts, author of Shattered Bonds, The Color of Child Welfare, was the lunchtime speaker. Workshops including “Healing after Reunification,” “A Lawyer’s View of Reunification,” and panel on “Parent Experiences” were offered. Lunch, singing and activities for children made the day fun, educational and inspiring.
Co-sponsors included Chicago Legal Aid for Incarcerated Mothers and the Northwestern Child and Family Justice Center.