Rise Magazine

Diplomacy and Determination – When I had a conflict with my son’s school, I was able to get what my family needed by being both respectful and strong.

My son was in several daycare centers starting when he was 6 weeks old. I checked them all out carefully and, in all of them, my son was almost always happy when I picked him up. I felt secure. My worries started when I moved him to a daycare that was close to our home. From the beginning, I was alarmed when I’d come to pick up my son. The kids were screaming and running around. Then my son started telling me daily about different kids hitting him.

There came a time when there’d been four incidents in seven days! I felt hopeless and angry. I thought of a time when a foster parent had told me that I wasn’t allowed to sit on the couch because it was only for their children, not foster children. I felt like I always felt as a child in the system: that no one cared. I felt like no one was there to support me or my child. But I also wanted to grow from being that foster child to a successful parenting adult. So that night I decided to email the director.

News

What Parents Need to Know: School Reports to CPS, Communicating with the School, and Advocating for Your Child

Throughout Rise’s series on schools and child welfare, parents describe how school reports to child protective services took them by surprise. Sometimes, the calls were made without sufficient cause. Other times, problems at home escalated when schools were not willing or able to adequately address a child’s behavior problems. Even for families who got help, the trauma of child welfare involvement far over-shadowed the benefits.

Here, Asia Piña and Crystal Baker-Burr, a social worker and an education attorney at The Bronx Defenders, warn parents that some schools may call in reports far more quickly than others. They suggest ways parents can navigate challenges and improve their relationship with their child’s school to avoid unnecessary reports.

News

How to Get School-Based Supports for Your Child

Many parents at Rise have described how their child’s school denied their child testing for educational disabilities or supports to help a child learn in school, even when the child was clearly struggling. Then, when problems escalated, the schools called child protection.

There are organizations and people who can help parents get the help they need, when they need it. In NYC, Advocates for Children provides advice and legal aid to ensure that low-income families have access to quality education for their children. Promise Project helps low-income families properly evaluate their children for learning disabilities and get the services they need.

We spoke with Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children; Lillian Murphy, senior project manager at Promise Project; and Lorenzo Torres, supervising education coordinator at Promise Project to find out about children’s rights and the IEP process.

News

Rise’s Response to ACS’ Foster Care and Residential Services Concept Paper

In October, NYC’s child welfare agency, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), released a concept paper on foster care and residential services, outlining its “vision for family foster care and residential foster care services for children and families across New York City.”

Rise offered feedback on this concept paper. Our comments reflect the input of parents who contribute to Rise and who work in the field as parent advocates in foster care and legal agencies. … 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 Support Resources

A Message of Support this Holiday Season

Every day can be a struggle. We all have hard times, but it’s even harder to go though the holiday season alone, especially when you have lost someone special or you are not able to spend time with your children because they are in the system.

I know from personal experience. I lost my grandmother a few days before Christmas back in 2011. I also caught my first ACS case a few days before Christmas in 2015. My kids were placed in foster care and I didn’t get to see or talk to them until after Christmas.

Here are some tips that helped me get through a difficult time.

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

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.