National Reunification Day 2014

National Reunification Day 2014

In the past, National Reunification Day hosted by the Family Defense Center has served to celebrate family reunification and preservation in the face of adversity, especially from the child welfare system. We want to celebrate reunification and promote parents, family members, and those negatively affected by the system to become advocates for change. In keeping with this goal, we held a National Reunification Day program on June 7, 2014, at the Logan Square Library in Chicago. The program was as follows:

  • Welcome by Diane Redleaf, FDC Executive Director, Nationally Recognized Child and Family Advocate
  • MONOLOGUE PERFORMANCE: “My Life” by Suzanne Sellers
  • PARENT PANEL: The Journey to Becoming an Advocate
    • Michelle Weidner, Advocate on Medical Accountability
    • Suzanne Sellers, Advocate for Parental Rights
    • Kim Tice, Advocate for Incarcerated Mothers
  • BREAKOUT DISCUSSION GROUP: The Tools You Need for your Advocacy Journey
  • Closing Remarks by Angela Inzano, Staff Attorney/Policy Coordinator

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Parent Advocacy Network

suzanneHelping parents to utilize their stories and experiences in the child welfare system to affect change, the Parent Advocacy Network, led by Suzanne Sellers (pictured), was convened in the summer of 2014 with three workshops on writing, telling, and sharing their stories.

Meeting 1: June 17, 2014 from 6 to 7 p.m. – Parents were oriented through the process of writing their stories and how that process helps build strength for advocacy

Meeting 2: July 15, 2014 from 6 to 7 p.m. – Parents reconvened to share their story drafts and discuss revisions

Meeting 3: July 22, 2014 from 6 to 7 p.m. – Parents submitted their final drafts and discuss ways to use these written and spoken stories to effect change through publication, public speaking, meeting with legislators, and more.