After Care — I wish my service plan had prepared me for reunification

After spending four years in foster care, my 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were trial discharged to me in time for Christmas 2015.

The family shelter I was in with my 9-month-old baby wasn’t our idea of home, but my kids were happy just to be back with me and excited about their new brother.

It was the happiest day of our lives.

It was also the saddest, because a big part of our family was still missing—my oldest … Read More

I’m Rising – How I turned my anger at the system into a passion for changing it

The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) got involved in my life in 2000 after I disciplined my son by spanking him with a belt. They said I was abusing him and took him away. I was also arrested.

Before the case, I was working in child care. Watching people’s children was fun for me. I enjoyed the little ones and how creative they are at those young ages. I was also in school studying criminal … Read More

News

TIPS for Parents with Supervised Visits

Even though we love our children and want to see them, visiting children in foster care can bring up painful feelings for many parents. Sometimes visits are scary, stiff, weird, awkward, or sad. Our kids may act angry at us, or like they don’t care. Walking into the agency can make us feel like a failure. If you were in foster care yourself as a child, visits can also bring up feelings of abandonment. During … Read More

ABOUT RISE

Parents whose children enter foster care are largely invisible to the public. Media coverage focuses on horrific tragedies; in fact, more than half of children in foster care safely return home. A more accurate, nuanced picture of who parents are is essential to improving child welfare. Since 2005, Rise has trained parents to write and share their experiences with the child welfare system in order to deepen understanding of fragile families; provide information, healing and encouragement to parents; and guide child welfare professionals in becoming more responsive to the families and communities they serve. Rise amplifies parent voice child welfare reform and changes the story of who these parents are–and can be.

Parent Presentations

Bringing parents’ perspective on racial equity in child welfare

On September 27, 2017, Rise Senior Parent Leader Jeanette Vega spoke on a panel on advocacy at the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Washington DC convening of the Alliance for Racial Equity.

Drawing on Rise’s issue Facing Race in Child Welfare, Jeanette spoke about the challenges parents must overcome to successfully navigate the child welfare system and discrimination against people of color when poverty is seen as neglect. She drew comparisons between child welfare … Read More

Staff Training

Training CASA Volunteers to Understand Parents’ Experiences

Rise collaborated with CASA-NY to bring parents’ perspective into its training for CASA volunteers. Through observation of their training, Rise recommended adjustments to training content and offered quotes and stories to include in training materials and as handouts. Rise also developed a panel for CASA volunteers, presented in June, and had a parent leader speak at every CASA training.

Parent Support Resources

Rise Know Your Rights Training for Young Parents in Foster Care

In 2017, Rise educated dozens of young mothers who grew up in foster care in order to prevent children from being unnecessarily removed from home. 

Through Know Your Rights presentations at Covenant House, the NYC child welfare agency, and in mother/child foster care group homes citywide, young women learned about child welfare law, how to address risks through preventive or mental health supports, and how to protect their families by asserting their rights.

When young people … Read More

Go to About Rise

Stories by Frontline Staff

Caseworkers play such an important role in whether parents succeed in getting their children home from foster care. To build parents’ understanding of caseworkers and workers’ understanding of parents, Rise ran two writing groups for frontline staff at the NYC agency Sheltering Arms. These stories show the challenges caseworkers face, as well as ways they’ve overcome those challenges.

READ THE SERIES:

Transparency and Trust – As a caseplanner, I know I have power over parents’ lives – and I try to share it.

Making a Connection – A moment of understanding changed my relationship with an angry father.

Partners in Planning – When parents are supported to participate in planning, we can make better decisions.

Overwhelmed – High caseloads and paperwork make it hard to invest in human connections.

Meeting Parents Where They Are – Accepting my own feelings helped me accept the parents I work with.

Safe Enough to Grow – Both parents and caseworkers need to feel supported and accepted.