The Achieving Reunification Center (ARC) will hold its 6th National Reunification Day event on June 18th. The event will celebrate both children and parents that have successfully reunified. There will be food, door prizes, activities for children, and much more.
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Pennsylvania has a long history
In 1999 the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families (DHS) held its first Families United Celebration as a way to celebrate families involved in the child welfare system who had achieved their goal of reunification. Every year since then Allegheny County has held an annual Families United Celebration -- in 2009, over 2500 people attended to celebrate families who have reunified and the importance of strong families to the overall community. This year the Allegheny County Families United Celebration had over 1000 participants.
The Families United Celebration is hosted by DHS and is held at a local park in the community that is donated by the city. The first year of the celebration the event was focused solely on families who had reunified. The event planners found that some families were reluctant to attend and be singled out as being involved in the child welfare system. To address these concerns, DHS opened the event to the community as a whole, including community agencies, family support centers, service providers, agency social workers, attorneys, judges, and politicians.
The event typically takes place on a Friday in August. The 2011 event was held on Friday, August 19th - Allegheny County's 10th annual celebration! Food and entertainment are provided by DHS (usually, hot dots and hamburgers and other picnic foods). Ben & Jerry’s donates ice-cream for the event. Volunteers staff the event and service providers help with activities for attendees. Last year there were pony rides for children, tumble gyms and games. The Families United Celebration is a huge success -- each year many happy faces can be seen celebrating reunifications and family strengths.
The event is hosted by DHS and costs approximately $20,000. This money comes out of the budget.
Since its inception, the Families United Celebration has always been a joyous occasion. It has successfully raised awareness in the community about what reunification means for families. The press and politicians regularly attend the event.
For more information about the Allegheny County reunification celebration, please contact Dr. Marcia Sturdivant , Deputy Director, Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families.
The Achieving Reunification Center (ARC), a program of the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS), hosted Philadelphia’s 3rd Annual Reunification Day Celebration on June 16th, 2011. The Center will host a reunification event on June 20th 2012.
The Achieving Reunification Center is a “one stop” center providing a host of services designed to help parents with children in placement overcome barriers to family reunification. Services include workforce development, counseling support and parent education, housing and financial counseling, fatherhood support, and technology-based learning.
Reunification is a key priority for DHS and we believe that all families with children in out-of-home placement have resources to achieve reunification through the provision of appropriate support services that ensure the child’s safety and strengthen the family’s ability to become stable and self-sufficient.
The goal of the Reunification Event is to celebrate the accomplishments and dedication of parent/caregivers who have successfully completed ARC’s program and have been reunified with their children. The event will also recognize the work of the entire Professional Service Team in helping families achieve reunification.
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