June is Reunification Month
June was selected by the American Bar Association to be the month to proclaim National Reunification Month because it is the same month Father’s Day is celebrated. As fathers are honored throughout the nation, it’s a reminder that birth parents play an essential part in their child’s life.
American Bar Association wrote the following as key messages to convey National Reunification Month.
- To celebrate the accomplishments of families who have overcome an array of challenges to reunify safely and successfully.
- To recognize the vital role that community partners – including mental health and substance abuse providers, courts and judges, foster parents and others – play in helping to reunify, strengthen and support families.
- To inspire other parents – particularly those going through the recovery process – that it is possible to confront and resolve the issues that led to their separation, and to reunify with their children. Below is a story written by Hastings and Pleadwell that highlights a couple that displays the key messages: Vivian Kim-Seu had an extensive Child Welfare Services (CWS) history extending back to 1996 due to substance abuse and domestic violence issues that resulted in her four oldest daughters going in and out of Hawai‘i’s foster care system on O‘ahu for the majority of their lives. During the early phase of Vivian’s recovery, she was resistant but understood that she needed to be clean and sober for her children. Through the help of the Family Drug Court Program, CWS and a team of supporters, Vivian successfully completed rehabilitation and was able to reunify with her children. While going through treatment, she was also in a relationship with Randolph Kim-Seu, Jr. (aka Randy). Through his desire to be with Vivian and to help raise her children, he took the necessary steps to address his own substance abuse issues, become actively involved in the case, and build trust with Vivian’s daughters. It has been a little over a year since Vivian and Randy graduated from the Family Drug Court program and they continue to be solid parents for their children. Vivian and Randy continue to support the Family Drug Court Program by inspiring other families and professionals that families can reunify successfully. They have since married and continue to live as a family.
Click here to see “Home,” a story about Vivian Kim-Seu and family , by Aria Studios (June 17, 2014).
Click here to see a Hawai i Public Radio interview by Wayne Yoshioka, (June 17, 2014).