Finding Support

Act Now, Pay Later – When my son entered foster care, I couldn’t think, plan, or stay calm

Before my son entered foster care, I was working full time and going to school full time. I was known for multi-tasking. I never kept a calendar but I could make all appointments and never be late. I was on it. But once child welfare got involved in my life, things went sideways real fast.

After I lost my son, it was like I lost control over my body and mind. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t … Read More

Handling Your Case

When Stress Is Toxic – Bringing the science of child development into child welfare

BY JEANETTE VEGA with Dominique Arrington and Sharkkarah Harrison

When children are removed from home, parents feel a level of grief and stress that can hardly be explained. Then they often face more stress, with things like losing a job because of mandated services, losing housing and juggling multiple services.

When our bodies feel too much pressure and threat, stress can put us in an “act now, think later” mentality that makes it even harder to … Read More

News

Rise Parent Leaders Deliver Keynote Address to ABA Parent Attorney Conference

Rise parent leaders Nancy Fortunato and Jeanette Vega presented to 400 attorneys at the American Bar Association conference for parent attorneys on April 25. Here is the text of their speech: 

Thank you for the opportunity to present about parents’ perspectives on family court.

The main thing we want you to hear today is that parents come into court feeling powerless. When our children are removed, we feel the ultimate in powerlessness.

To get our children back, we … 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.

Staff Training

Setting Parents Up for Success in Visits

Rise’s visiting TIPS are designed to inform parents and support positive communication between parents and caseworkers. Reviewing Making the Most of Visits when parents first start visiting children in foster care can help parents understand what’s expected in visits and how other parents have made visits as positive as possible.

Parents come to foster care agencies experiencing not only the trauma of losing their child but also the confusion of navigating a complex system. Parents must:

• Keep track of … Read More

Advocacy

Strengthening the System through Parent Voice – The more child welfare can support parents using their voices during their case, the better equipped they’ll be to solve problems down the road

This is a speech Jeanette gave at the Schuyler Center as part of a panel on innovations in child welfare reform.

Today I will talk to you about what’s needed in child welfare reform from a parent’s perspective. That is voice—parents having a powerful voice in their cases and in the system.

You might be thinking, why does a parent need a voice?

I’m sure you hear us all the time screaming, fighting and arguing at the agencies. … Read More

Partners

‘We’ve come to see Rise as an organization that’s very thoughtful about how to do sophisticated training with caseworkers that has a real impact.’

Interview with Elizabeth McCarthy, CEO, and Jane Golden, Chief Program Officer at Sheltering Arms in New York City

Jane: For the past two years, our foster care staff have participated in writing groups led by Rise’s Editorial Director, Rachel Blustain. The group allowed the caseworkers to talk about what it’s like to do their job and to write stories about their experiences working with parents with children in foster care.

Elizabeth: We wanted to give staff an … Read More

Partners

‘Rise Is a Good Dose of Reality’ – How our partnership with CSSP brings parents’ perspectives into policy

Interview with Steve Cohen, Lisa Primus and Martha Raimon

Martha: The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a nonprofit designed to influence public policy that affects children and families, and to provide technical assistance to states and jurisdictions testing new ideas and policies in child welfare, early childhood education and community development.

The Center is always looking to embed more authentic parent and youth voice in our work, and that’s a work in progress. We rely … Read More

Go to About Rise

WATCH OUR VIDEO “In Our Own Words”

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.