June proclaimed National Reunification Month in Colorado by Governor Polis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DENVER (June 16, 2023) – The Colorado Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC), the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) and the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) came together to shine a spotlight on family reunification in Colorado as part of Together Today, Stronger Tomorrow: A Reunification Celebration held Wednesday, June 14th at the Denver Zoo. National Reunification Month is celebrated annually in June to recognize the people around the country who help reunify, strengthen, and support families who are involved in the child welfare system.
“It takes compassion, commitment, and the support of a dedicated team to keep families together,” said Melissa Thompson, Executive Director of OPRC. “We’re proud to work alongside other Colorado agencies to help our clients become the parents they want to be and that their children need. As a result, more families are reunified and stronger together.”
Reunifying children with their families is the primary goal of the child welfare system. According to the Administration for Children and Families, positive partnerships between birth parents, caregivers, caseworkers, and older youth increase the chances of successful reunification.
“At OCR, we strongly believe that children do better when they can safely be home with their parents or their family,” said Chris Henderson, Executive Director of OCR. “We all have the same goal on day one: to keep families together when safe and appropriate.”
Colorado’s ORPC has worked alongside OCYF and OCR to recognize reunification heroes since 2020. As part of Wednesday’s event, four reunification heroes from four different Colorado counties were honored for the important work they have done in the reunification space. This year’s heroes were a Boulder caseworker and several parents who successfully reunified with their children after involvement with the child welfare system, including two who now work as ORPC Parent Advocates supporting other parents experiencing child welfare involvement.
“Every parent needs help from time to time and it is important to recognize and celebrate those parents who have overcome an array of challenges to reunify safely and successfully,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, Director of OCYF. “When our families thrive, Colorado thrives.”
Highlight videos for each of this year’s reunification heroes are available here:
- Shayna: https://vimeo.com/827355044
- Kristin: https://vimeo.com/827671773
- Brittany & Nate: https://vimeo.com/827768588
- Lauren: https://vimeo.com/827714353
Access event photos and b-roll footage can be downloaded here.
About the Colorado Office of Respondent Parents Counsel (ORPC)
The Colorado Office of Respondent Parents Counsel (ORPC) is an independent state agency that supports Colorado parents in the fight to preserve families in dependency and neglect cases. Since 2016, ORPC has protected the right to parent by recruiting and training attorneys statewide, advocating for family-centered policies, and promoting equity and transparency in the family regulation system through data. As a result of our work, more families are reunified and stronger together. Learn more at www.coloradoORPC.org.
About the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families
The CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families is responsible for the coordination of quality and effective services for Colorado’s most vulnerable children, youth, and their families. The office supervises Colorado’s child welfare system and operates the state’s youth services system, as well as several other programs. Learn more at cdhs.colorado.gov.
About the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative
The Office of the Child’s Representative (OCR) is the state agency mandated to provide competent and effective legal representation to children and youth involved in the Colorado court system. For more information, please visit www.coloradochildrep.org.