Reunification

Portraits of Reunification

June’s National Reunification Month celebrates the perseverance of parents reunifying with children from foster care — and the professionals who support them.

Below are interviews with four parents who recently reunified with their children or are on their way. They were represented by lawyers, social workers and parent advocates at Brooklyn Defender Services — legal teams they said they cried with and shared their joy with, too.

Photos are courtesy of the Self Portrait Project, a citywide initiative … Read More

Reunification

How I reclaimed my son after reunification

As a parent advocate, I used to advise parents in my support group about the reality of what they would face once their children returned home from foster care. I’d tell them that kids often act out, or don’t seem happy to be home. I’d tell them to try to stay calm and to think about their family’s needs and how to address them. I would tell parents, “I was you, I understand.”

DREAM COME TRUE

My … Read More

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

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.

Adoption

Mothers handle post-adoption grief

The grief parents suffer when they lose children to foster care and adoption is “invisible and often goes unacknowledged,” explains Toronto-based social worker Kathleen Kenny and parent advocate Sheryl Jarvis, who run a 15-week support group for women who use drugs and have experienced having one or more children removed or adopted.

Q: How would you compare the grief of a parent who loses a child to adoption to a parent whose child dies?

Jarvis: When a child … Read More

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

Parent Presentations

Applying a Toxic Stress Lens to Frontline Practice with Parents

Rise Parent leader Jeanette Vega spoke to child welfare leadership at the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies’ (COFCCA) annual meeting about toxic stress and frontline practice with parents. 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 was going through when my son went into foster care.

Life Before My Case

Before my son entered foster care, 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

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.