by Lauren M. Franciosi
Superior Court assistant
Washington has proclaimed June Family Reunification Month to commemorate parents who have worked hard to successfully reunify their families after significant struggles and on June 4 at 9 a.m., the San Juan County Council will declare June Family Reunification Month in San Juan County.
The Washington Legislature declared the family unit a fundamental resource of American life that should be nurtured. What a powerful statement, and one we too frequently lose sight of.
Parents have a fundamental, constitutional right to care for and parent their children. However, in circumstances where a child’s rights to nurture, health or safety is jeopardized, the state necessarily intervenes through a “dependency” proceeding in order to protect the child. Through dependency, parents are offered services to assist and support them in making the changes needed for their families. Safe and timely reunification of families is the paramount goal of dependency proceedings.
This is a great time also to remember and appreciate the important roles that partners — including mental health and substance abuse providers, foster parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and others — play in helping to strengthen, support and reunify families. To this end, San Juan County Juvenile Court Services and Superior Court are planning educational opportunities during June.
Please consider attending a presentation by Fostering Together to learn more about becoming a foster parent on Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the San Juan Island Grange. We also would welcome the opportunity to provide presentations about volunteering as a court appointed special advocate—contact Juvenile Court Services Administrator Linnea Anderson at 360-370-7440 to schedule a speaker at your upcoming service club meeting or event.