Reunification

Light in a Dark Tunnel – Sometimes hope can make all the difference

“It’s unfair that you get to spend Thanksgiving with your family and you’re not letting me have my kids home,” my client said. I felt guilty and it did feel unfair.

After the home visit, I returned to the agency and pleaded with the administrators to allow the children to spend Thanksgiving with their mother.

“Sorry, Joselyn. We can’t risk having the kids home given the allegations.”

I wanted so badly to give this mother something to feel … Read More

Advocacy

Uplifting Every Voice – Together we can change the perception of parents created by the child welfare system

It was a knock on my door in the middle of the night in 1999 that altered the trajectory of my life. I was residing in a family shelter with my 2,4, and 6-year old boys when it happened. I looked through the peephole and saw an African American man and woman. They were caseworkers from New York City’s Administration for Children Services (ACS).

They told me they were there to remove my children because I … Read More

News

The Power of Peer Support – Rise Parent Presentation at our 2018 Benefit

Lindsay Reilly (Read by Nancy Fortunato)

LINDSAY/NANCY

Can I call your attention in the courtroom

To the mother with mental illness

With multiple kids and multiple fathers

Who was raised by a system

That never loved her

By people who never loved her

Who gave birth to 4 beautiful children

Stemmed from a poisonous father each time

Those who promised to love her hurt her

The mother who tried to be loved

So hard she lost herself

Guns, drugs, unlawful imprisonment

But she’s still here

She looks at her … 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

Ask Yourself: ‘Am I More Focused on Compliance Than Safety?’ – Parents encourage attorneys who represent the child welfare system to focus on justice and humanity in the courtroom

This spring, Rise parent leaders presented to all 250 Administration for Children’s Services attorneys who represent the child welfare system in family court. (The division is called Family Court Legal Services, or FCLS.) Rise parent leaders routinely present to newly-hired FCLS attorneys. Here is their presentation: 

Rise trains parents to write and speak about their experiences with the child welfare system. The insights you’ll hear today are based on the personal essays Rise has developed with … Read More

Parent Presentations

‘I Felt Terrified—and Shocked’ – How to approach parents in child protective investigations

In 2018, Rise parent leaders were asked to provide input to the Administration for Children’s Services on training for child protective investigators. Our team worked with 20 life experienced parents to develop feedback, including parent advocates working at foster care and legal agencies and parents with recent foster care cases. Jeanette Vega, Nancy Fortunato and Robbyne Wiley developed the presentation. Here is their presentation: 

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to present parents’ perspectives … Read More

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

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.