Rise Magazine

A Day to Remember: ‘I wanted them to know I missed them with all my heart.’

My children came home a week before Easter, but when they walked in it was Easter for them. I had new toys, clothing and an Easter basket waiting for them. Even though they knew that I loved them, I wanted them to know that I missed them with all my heart. I took them out to eat, play and to the movies. We played games, danced around the house and watched TV. I cooked some food because they missed my home cooking. 

It was so unreal to hear all of them call me mom at one time. I had been waiting for that for a whole year and three months. The kids stayed up half the night, excited because we all were home together in one house. 

When they went to sleep I checked on them the whole night. I didn’t think it was real that they were home. After they went to bed, I sat in my room and cried because my children were back with me. I didn’t think this day would come true. I had worked so hard to get them back home.

Reunification

How Holistic Legal Representation Supports Reunification

As part of our Fighting for Our Rights series and in recognition of National Reunification Month, Rise is exploring how parent legal representation can support reunification.

Here, Rise talks with Marty Guggenheim, professor of clinical law at NYU Law School, co-director of NYU Law School’s Family Defense Clinic and co-author of the study “Effects of an interdisciplinary approach to parental representation in child welfare.” His research proves that interdisciplinary legal representation—an approach where a legal team includes a lawyer, parent advocate and social worker—helps families safely reunify more quickly. His research also shows that many children do not need to be in foster care at all.

News

Rise Is Hiring: Community Coordinator

Rise is hiring a full-time Community Coordinator to mobilize NYC parents impacted by the child welfare system to develop a Parents’ Platform for community investment and community-based approaches to preventing and repairing harm. The ideal candidate is a parent who has been personally impacted by the child welfare system, is experienced in leading teams and facilitation, and has worked as an advocate in child welfare and/or community justice movements.  Learn more and apply!

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

How You Can Help Your Child Cope During COVID-19

Adapted from the Brain Architects Podcast with Jack Shonkoff, Harvard Center on the Developing Child

Adults are really
struggling with the pressures and tensions of this time. When we’re feeling
significant stress, anxiety, unease and even depression about what’s going on,
you don’t have as much energy to be on your best game at all times.

For everyone, feeling some sense of safety and control brings
your stress system back down. And
none of us are capable of
feeling safe and secure … Read More

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.