Last year, my six year old son, Zade, hosted a Mother’s Day party for me. It was the first time he really seemed to appreciate the meaning of the holiday and, true to the occasion, he wanted to celebrate me and to make me feel special. He devised a menu of cupcakes and strawberry lemonade, made decorations, including a colorful banner, and penned a precious card in his best handwriting. I will always treasure his thoughtfulness and his effort to gather me, his siblings, and my husband on that day. It is a simple joy but one that is fundamental to all parents—the joy of a family being together.
Unfortunately, there are many mothers in the city who could not spend this Mother’s Day with their children. For these parents and their kids, removed from each other because of circumstances often stemming from poverty, including domestic violence, mental illness, and drug and alcohol abuse, the day will undoubtedly be a painful reminder of how hard it is to be separated from your loved ones.
The Center for Family Representation strives each day to assist families in crisis to safely remain together. CFR’s innovative approach provides to clients the services and support of lawyers, social workers, and, very importantly, parent advocates—trained professionals who have experienced the child welfare system firsthand and have successfully reunited with their families. The team approach helps ensure that all who come into contact with the child welfare system receive critical assistance and fair legal treatment. CFR’s work helps parents in need avoid the loss, grief, frustration, and negative outcomes associated with children being separated from their families.
I have been on the Board of CFR since 2007, and I am so happy to be part of this pioneering and well-run organization. Seven years ago, a law firm colleague invited me to an event in support of CFR. I had been working as a litigation partner for several years, and while I had been engaged on a number of pro bono cases in the past, I had not connected to any particular cause on a truly personal level. As a mother of three young boys, I know how much it takes in terms of time, energy, and resources to function normally, much less to overcome a crisis of health or circumstance. The more I learned about CFR, the more I was struck by how vital its efforts are to keep children with their parents.
As we celebrate this Mother’s Day, my hope is that CFR, and organizations like it, are able to sustain and expand their reach so that mothers and families in need can celebrate the joys of parenthood and of being together in safety, health, and happiness.
Happy Mother’s Day!