Local child advocates pushing reunification for CPS families

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - June is National Reunification month. It’s an effort to highlight the work done by agencies trying to reunite children put into the state's custody with their biological families.

In Downtown Bryan, the staff at Voices For Children is devoted to making sure kids in Brazos County and surrounding counties are heard and their rights aren't abused.

The agency trains court appointed volunteers to advocate for children who’ve been removed from a home.

Monday Executive Director AJ Renold crunched the numbers regarding what happens to a child once their case is closed and they're placed in a permanent home.

"Out of 154 children 79% of those cases were closed with reunification involving a parent or family member,” said Renold.

According to Renold, those numbers are slightly above the rest of the state.

"We are very much collaborating with parents. We are very much collaborating with extended family members and we want them engaged,” she said. “We want them to have a seat at the table and a voice in court."

While those are encouraging statistics, Renold says the reality is kids in the Brazos Valley still struggle because many times their foster homes are in neighboring cities like Houston or Dallas.

"Those kids experience whatever they are experiencing in the home and then they are asked to move out of their community away from everything that they know and to adjust to that,” she said.

She believes that makes working toward reunification difficult but still a high priority.

"CPS starts off with how do we get your children back to you and that's also the goal with Voices for Children,” said Renold.

Voices for Children leaders say they are always in need of more volunteers to become advocates. They also want more community members to become foster parents.

You can learn more about how to get involved by logging on to vfcbrazos.org