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For Immediate Release Contact:  Ernest Landante, Jr.
December 17, 2014     609-292-0422

TRENTON - Furthering the Christie Administration's "Season of Service" initiative and commitment to preserve families and help them succeed, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) Assistant Commissioner Lisa vonPier joined children and their families at the "Home for the Holidays" family reunification celebration hosted by Essex County-based FAMILYConnections.

"'Home for the Holidays" celebrates the reunification of families with their children who have been in foster care.  Families receive donated gifts and meals and participate in fun holiday activities.

"'Home for the Holidays" is very special to us because it brings together and celebrates families who have reunited during the year," said Assistant Commissioner vonPier.  "Our goal is to keep families together and ensure that they and their children succeed and enjoy fulfilling futures.  Seeing these families celebrate the holidays and their reunification is deeply meaningful to everyone in our entire department."

The nonprofit FAMILYConnections provides professional counseling, skills building, prevention and training services to more than 4,000 children, adults, and families each year in Essex and surrounding counties, with many programs delivered directly in preschools, schools, community centers, and in the home.

"Our Reunity House programs are a model of collaboration with DCF on behalf of families," said Paula Sabreen, executive director of FAMILYConnections.  "Over several years, we have an amazing 98% success rate and that means that more than 400 children are out of foster care and safely reunified with their parents and siblings in strong, stable homes."

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves.  In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families. DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children, and families each month.

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