New Jezebel/Rise Series: ‘In One Day I Had Lost Everything That Mattered to Me’

Last fall, after the tragic death of Zymere Perkins, a child whose family was repeatedly investigated by the NYC child welfare system, many news outlets advanced a familiar narrative of monstrous parents and failing caseworkers — and suggested that investigators had become too hesitant about removing children from their homes.

But recent reporting has captured the opposite reality–that child welfare investigations and removals are a constant, terrifying presence in the lives of poor parents.

Now Jezebel is publishing a five-part series drawn from Rise to … Read More

Adoption

Shared Grief: If my daughter could know me it would help her understand her own suffering

The day in court that they terminated my parental rights I asked my daughter if I could kiss her. She looked over to check if her foster mother would let her. Then she put her head down. I went and gave her a big kiss on that soft little cheek of hers. Her face lit up. Then her lawyer took her away. It was the last time I saw my daughter.

This was a date I thought … Read More

News

‘How do people get through unbelievable, harrowing difficulty?’ – An interview with author Andrew Solomon

National Book Award-winning author Andrew Solomon will speak at Rise’s annual benefit on October 19. Here he discusses his work, his own story and his connection to Rise.

Q: What do you see as the common theme across your work?

A: The theme that interests me the most is resilience: How do people achieve resilience? How do they manage to go through difficult circumstances and come out OK?

I’ve written on a broad range of subjects.With my book The … 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.

News

Rise Presents to Child Welfare Leaders: How are you informing, orienting and encouraging parents?

Rise Parent leader Jeanette Vega delivered an inspiring speech to directors of child welfare agencies at the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies’ (COFCCA) annual meeting. Jeanette focused on toxic stress and the role it plays in a parent’s—and child’s— life once involved in the system. Here’s the full transcript: 

In the fall when I read Steve Cohen’s paper I was shocked and amazed to think that there was a name— toxic stress— for what I … Read More

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

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.