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Reuniting Families and Helping Children Thrive

Family Advocacy

Reuniting Families and Helping Children Thrive

Each June, National Reunification Month celebrates the accomplishments of parents and the many professionals that support them in getting their children home safely.  Community Legal Services (CLS) helps hundreds of families each year avoid the need for foster care services, and helps hundreds more parents reunite with their children who have been separated from their families and placed in foster care. 

CLS’s Family Advocacy Unit represents parents whose children have been placed in foster care or are at risk of placement.  Philadelphia has a high rate of poverty that disproportionately impacts families with children.  Often, children are removed from their homes for reasons that are created or greatly exacerbated by conditions of poverty, such as homelessness or unsafe housing, lack of utilities, and lack of adequate child care.  Many other families are struggling with mental health problems, drug addiction, medical problems, and countless other crises that befall impoverished families struggling to survive with very little safety net and external supports.  The Family Advocacy Unit helps families overcome the challenges that put their children at risk of foster care placement.  This year, the Family Advocacy Unit helped parents reunify with their children in many cases including ones where the children were placed in foster care due to homelessness, medical needs, truancy, and domestic violence.  

Attorneys from other CLS units join in the effort to help mitigate problems such as housing, benefits, or wage theft that put families at risk. In the end, all of CLS works to preserve and strengthen families by providing necessary supports during times of crisis. 

During Reunification Month, we remember that family preservation and reunification allow children to be raised in their own permanent and loving home, filled with the security and stability of family, including parents, siblings, grand-parents, and other extended family members.  We celebrate the efforts families in Philadelphia make to reunify with their children, and to provide children a strong foundation from which they can mature and grow.