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Families United Celebration 2000 - 2012

Families United Celebration PhotoFamilies United Celebration originated in 2000 and was an annual end-of-the-summer event until 2013.  Families United celebrated the work local families do to strengthen their family unit.  This applied to families that were reunited as a result of working within the child welfare system as well as those that stayed intact by working with their community-based and natural supports and DHS-contracted providers.

Families United turned the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink and the park surrounding it into a festive paradise for families and children.  Families were treated to a smorgasbord of summer foods and outdoor entertainment and activities. Featured performers  included balloon and caricature artists, magicians, musical groups and dancers. Activities ranged from roller skating, face painting, crafts, games, to pony rides and a moonwalk. Sponsors for the event included the DHS Office of Children,Youth and Families (CYF), DHS-contracted and local-human-services provider agencies; and retail establishments.

The celebration resonated with families and the community. Each year, the event drew more than 2,000 participants and boasted upwards of 150 volunteers. Families United began as a unique event and has since been replicated in New York City because of its value as a way of recognizing the great accomplishment of restoring and maintaining the strength of families.

Families United Celebration 2011 Families United Celebration 2011 

Families United Media Coverage


“Families United” for Fun
DHS News, August 2012


CYF hosts 11th annual Families United Celebration at Schenley Park
DHS News, September 2011 


Families United Celebration video
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com, August 19, 2011


Department of Human Services to host Families United Celebration
DHS Press Release, August 5, 2010


DHS Children, Youth and Families celebrates keeping families together
DHS News, August 2009


PDF Icon DHS Children, Youth and Families Celebrating Families
DHS Press Release, August 8, 2008


Families United Together with Unity of the Heart Celebration In Memory of Commander Gwen Elliott
Allegheny County Press Release, August 6, 2007

Allegheny County Families United Together with Unity of the Heart Celebration
DHS Press Release, August 10, 2007

PDF Icon Families United honors families, Gwen’s Girls founder
DHSNews, August 2007, page 3


PDF Icon Families United ‘most successful yet’
DHS News, August 2006, page 5


PDF Icon CYF holds 6th Families United, inspires New York to hold first
DHSNews, September 2005, page 1


PDF Icon CYF celebrates family reunification aboard Gateway Clipper, Party Liner
DHS News, September 2004, page 3