On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, for the first time in Berkshire County, local agencies hosted a Reunification Day Celebration to recognize the reunification of families after separation through the child welfare system. This event was hosted by Berkshire Children & Families, the Department of Children and Families, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services – Children and Family Law Division (CAFL), in collaboration with the Berkshire Juvenile Court and the local bar.
The two hour celebration was held at the Berkshire Children and Families’ Family Resource Center and honored local families for their reunification success. The Honorable Amy L. Nechtem, Chief Justice of Juvenile Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, the Honorable Joan M. McMenemy, First Justice of the Berkshire Juvenile Court, Carolyn Burns, CEO & President of Berkshire Children and Families, and Margie Gilberti, Pittsfield DCF Director of Areas addressed the audience. Brian Litscher, a local CAFL panel attorney, entertained the crowd with an acapella performance of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The honored families were presented with passes donated by local attractions, and gifts that were generously provided by CAFL. Arts and crafts and face painting followed the structured portion of the celebration. A commemorative canvas, donated by CAFL panel attorney, Peter Brewer, was decorated and will be displayed in the Berkshire Juvenile Court.
This event was held in connection with the American Bar Association’s National Reunification Month. National Reunification Month is celebrated around the country every June to honor the importance of the reunification of children with their families in the child welfare system. The event was first celebrated in 2010 by the American Bar Association in collaboration with many national agencies. National Reunification Month celebrates the accomplishments of families who have overcome an array of challenges to safely reunify, recognizes the vital role that community partners play in strengthening families, and is designed to inspire other families in pursuit of successful reunification.