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National Reunification Month and National Pride Month: celebrating the power of family reunification and LGBTQ+ pride

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June 27, 2024

National Reunification Month and National Pride Month: celebrating the power of family reunification and LGBTQ+ pride

One of National CASA/GAL’s guiding principles is that children grow and develop best when they can safely be with their family of origin. Reunification in the child welfare system means that children or youth are returned to their family of origin after being separated. When safely possible, family reunification is the ultimate goal for children in the foster care system.

June is National Reunification Month, a time when we recognize the power of family reunification and its positive impact on the lives of children and their families involved with the foster care system. Nearly 370,000 children are in foster care on any given day in our country, and reunification plays a crucial role in their well-being. Throughout June, we highlight the importance of family preservation and the efforts undertaken to ensure children remain or are reunited with their families whenever safely possible.

Our member organizations work diligently to support children and families, advocating for reunification when safe and possible. CASA/GAL volunteers play a crucial role in supporting family reunification for children and youth in foster care. CASA/GAL volunteers advocate for the best interests of the child. They also provide guidance, resources, and vigorous advocacy to help families navigate the child welfare and foster care system. This advocacy helps ensure that decisions prioritize the child’s safety and well-being while considering reunification.

The celebration of National Reunification Month coincides with National Pride Month, emphasizing the importance of acceptance, love, and understanding within families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporting LGBTQ+ youth in foster care requires acceptance and ensuring safe and affirming environments. In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), enacted a policy that requires foster care homes to appropriately serve LGBTQ+ children and youth.

National CASA/GAL recognizes the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth in foster care. Ensuring their safety and well-being while promoting family reunification is a priority. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, “studies have shown that LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care:

  • Approximately 1 out of every 3 youth in foster care is LGBTQ+
  • LGBTQ+ youth report higher rates of mistreatment while in care
  • LGBTQ+ youth report more frequent placement disruptions
  • LGBTQ+ youth report a higher likelihood of being placed in congregate care settings”

Many CASA programs across the country have partnered with the HRC’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) to implement LGBTQ-inclusive policies and we’re proud of the HRC’s recognition of these  programs.

Reunification allows parents who have faced adversity to rebuild their lives and regain custody of their children. It’s a chance for healing, growth, and creating a stable environment for children. CASA/GAL volunteers serve as dedicated advocates, bridging gaps, and promoting reunification while safeguarding a child’s best interests. Join us in celebrating National Reunification Month and National Pride Month and all who advocate for brighter futures for children, stronger families, and a more inclusive society.