Jackson County children celebrate reuniting with families

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Each year hundreds of Jackson County children are removed from their homes.

Saturday, a celebration was held at Sheila Kemper Dietrich Park in Kansas City to recognize the success stories of families and children who are successfully, and safely reunited.

"At first I thought Children`s Division was evil, and they just wanted my kids. It turned out to be the best part of my life," said Amanda Recob.

Amanda Recob said she never thought she'd get to this point. For years she was hooked on drugs, hitting her rock bottom in 2015, when she moved from South Dakota to Kansas City.

"I was probably in the court system for two years, but my big day was May 22, 2015. That big day is when they took my kids. That`s when my life changed," Recob said.

After months of determination, focus and treatment, today, Recob can proudly say she has her three daughters Piper, Marley, and Lucianna back in her custody.

The four happy and healthy.

“I wanted to be a good mom, and keep making better choices, whether they were hard or easy choices. I made them. I've had non-stop support," Recob said.

According to Jackson County Family court data, there can be anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 kids in care over a period of a year.

The reunification rate is around 50 percent.

“A lot of people think family court and they think families being broken up, that’s the opposite of what we try to do here," said Administrative Judge for Family Courts, Dale Youngs.

Youngs said one of the big goals of the program includes creating a support system, and access to services needed for parents and guardians to makes changes.

Besides celebrating the family's victory, the event is also meant to inspire.

“Going into the system has a super negative connotation to it, and most of the time that is because something terrible is happening, but being in the system means having access to services and things to help yo reunify with the kids, not to pull you apart. It does happen, and we just want people to have some hope that that’s the case," Youngs said.

This was the second year this event was held.

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