New Jersey


Legal Services of New Jersey held a Family Unification Day Celebration November 17, 2020 with a virtual event honoring families who have successfully prevented removal, or been reunified with their children after involvement with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. This year's event was a Zoom event honoring 28 parents and heroes, with appearances by RISE Parent Leaders, Honored Parents and Heroes and remarks from Judge David Katz.


Legal Services of New Jersey celebrated reunification success stories at its annual event in New Brunswick on June 21, 2018.  This year, however, LSNJ renamed the event "Unification Day" to signify the importance of preventing removals whenever possible and keeping families unified through statewide supports and services.

For more information link.

And watch the video: Cannitta's Story: Surviving, Not Living


New Jersey’s annual Family Reunification Day celebration was held Friday, June 23, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.  This year’s celebration focused on improving educational outcomes for children involved in the child welfare system.  More information is available at

The Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families also sent out a message highlighting resources to promote reunification in recognition of the month.


Legal Services of New Jersey again hosted a Family Reunification Day Celebration on June 30, 2016. This year focused on cases where parental rights were terminated but children have not been adopted. Speakers included David Katz, Presiding Judge, Essex County, Brianna Shaw, Youth Advisory Board Ambassador, & Jeanette Vega, Editorial Assistant and Parent Leader, RISE Magazine.

For more information link

The event was covered by


New Brunswick

Legal Services of New Jersey hosted a Family Reunification Day Celebration on June 29, 2015 at the New Jersey Law Center located at One Constitution Square, New Brunswick, NJ.  Each year, LSNJ focuses on the critical services and procedures necessary to make reunification possible. This year the focus was on the intersection between housing and child welfare.


Atlantic County

Atlantic County had two celebrations in 2014. These featured presentations by judges, attorneys, the agency, and others. A press release was featured in the Cape May Herald here.


New Brunswick

Legal Services of New Jersey had an event on September 16, 2013.  The event focused on the importance of visitation's role in reunification. Speakers included judge Hany Mawla, Kara Wood, Director of DCP&P and Dr. Gerard Costa. 

They have updated their page for 2013 celebrations. The video on visitation features the project's own Mimi Laver.

Law Journal article about 2012 event.

Legal Services of New Jersey once again celebrated Family Reunification Day with a formal reception on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The event is an opportunity to acknowledge the success stories of the child welfare program and the people who make those stories possible. A successful reunification depends on the collective efforts of resource parents, caseworkers, judges, attorneys, support service providers, and parents themselves. Family Reunification Day highlights the extraordinary achievements that parents have made to reunite with their children and honors the efforts of those involved in the child welfare system who seek to return children to their families.

This event included presentations with:
Thomas H. Dilts, Judge, Superior Court of (Retired) - A Judicial Perspective on the Elements of a Successful Family Reunification

Matthew B. Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor at - A Mental Health Perspective: What Families need for a Successful Family Reunification

Nicole Goodwin, Writer, Rise Magazine - A View from a Parent: A National Outlook on Family Reunification

The Year’s Family Reunification Day Heroes are:
Sara Walsh, Esq.
Senior Attorney at Legal Services

Jean L. Metz, ACSW, LCSW
Service Area Director, House Domestic Violence Services

A Family Reunification Day event was held on Monday June 27, 2011 at the Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ. This event recognized the success of numerous stakeholders in reuniting families after DYFS involvement. The accomplishments and dedication of families who worked to regain custody of their children and the people who supported and guided them along the way was celebrated. Similar to the 2010 event, there was a panel of experts in the field discussing the importance of reunification.

The event received positive press attention including an article in the Pennington Post.

For more information contact - Jey Rajaraman, Legal Services of .