Many times we hear about the negative things that come from the Department of Child Services (DCS) involvement with children removed from the home. However, on June 13, 2016, parents who have reunited with their children over a year were celebrated for their accomplishments. It was the third annual Reunification Day Celebration held at Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge, Colleen McNally hosted the wonderful event. Seven families who had experienced tragedy, alcohol, and drug abuse were in attendance for the event. They all received certificates and celebrated such amazing accomplishments.
Having a strong support system is crucial for a parent struggling to make the necessary behavior changes in order to get their children back from DCS custody. It is not an easy task for those parents with limited resources and limited help. The fact that these parents were able to overcome negative situations and change their lives around shows that anyone with the right resources afforded to them can buckle down and positively change for the better. One thing that needs to be sought after more is getting help for families before DCS has to come into the picture. Organizations should advertise more if they offer free rehabilitation services or services that can be billed through Medi-cal. DCS does contract with outside behavioral health agencies to setup services, but once DCS has to refer for those services, it means that DCS is already involved with the family. Prevention with families is key in order to keep down the ever growing number of children in care.
Families who have survived the DCS process should continue to be supported and praised for all their hard work. If parents have reunited with their children that usually means they have gone through an extensive process involving showing up regularly for specialized groups, making it regularly to designated places for monitored visits with their children, showing up to all court hearings, enduring negative things being said about them in court, wondering if their children are being treated okay in the foster system. The stress alone from the process could make a parent that is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol have a relapse. Therefore, encouraging and supporting these families that have gone through or have made it through the system should be done regularly.