Better Parents Now, and Reunited with Children Monday, Jan 9, 2017 Page Image Page ContentParents honored for work to get kids back from state This article is written by Elizabeth Zavala. It was posted on expressnews.com on December 29, 2016.Adrian Alvarado kept a keen eye on his six children as he and his wife, Monique Gonzalez, herded them into Boys Town Texas on Thursday to celebrate a special event: reuniting them all.He and his wife were among 11 families — with 31 children in all — who attended a reception at the nonprofit organization that serves at-risk families with support and education. The Reunification Recognition Celebration lauded their hard work and efforts that helped the parents get their children back from state custody after circumstances that warranted their removal by Child Protective Services. Alvarado, 31, and Gonzalez, 32, lost their children for a year when one of them was hospitalized with bruising. They had been living in a motel and weren't able to pay bills."They couldn't figure out where (the bruising) came from, so they took them away for a year," Alvarado said, adding that parental visits were limited and difficult. "We saw our kids 24 times in a year." The couple attended parenting classes and went through counseling while their children were in foster care. Today, Alvarado is a business owner, he and Gonzalez have a place to live and they have been able to spend more time with their children, who were returned to them nearly a year ago.When agency investigators determine that children need to be removed from their parents, the separation can last for up to a year while the adults get counseling, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and instructions in parenting, said state District Judge Peter Sakai, who heads Bexar County Children's Court Division and Programs.The families were recognized with certificates and gift baskets, and each had the opportunity to pose for a family portrait as a keepsake."We have families who work hard, they go through a lot," Sakai said. "The key is to have the families step up. They did (the work) on their own. I'm proud of these families. "