Finding Support

Trying Again – This time, I have the support to face my feelings

I first smoked crack on a cold winter day when I was 19. At the time I was feeling desperate. I’d heard that crack would make me feel no pain, and it did. What pulled me in was the tinge, the suspense, the thrill and the numbness.

I’m 30 now, and for the past 11 years I’ve struggled to break my addiction and be a mother to my children. I have four girls—three are … Read More

Legal Rights

Don’t Battle Alone – It’s important to show the court that you have people on your team

Kathleen Creamer, a parent attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, explains how parents can strengthen their case by presenting the people in their lives in family court, as well as what parents can do if they don’t have anyone to bring to court.

Q: What role should friends, family and others play in court?

A: When you walk into court, it’s incredibly important to present as a parent who is willing and able to ask for … Read More


Rise Releases 2015 Annual Report

Rise had an outstanding year in 2015! We celebrated our 10th anniversary–and doubled our budget. So many of you contributed to our success. Thank you.

Some highlights:

* Our parent leaders presented to 500 professionals in November, including Congressional staff, Bronx and Manhattan Family Court, ACS attorneys and new child protective staff.

* We ran our first writing workshop at a foster care agency, Graham Windham, as well as a workshop for frontline staff to reflect on their work … Read More


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.


“Many people assume that women who lose their children to foster care are not only challenged in meeting the demands of motherhood, but are also bad people: incompetent, selfish, and morally defective. Reading Rise is a tutorial in empathy, because what rises from these pages is love, often love that has endured despite appalling struggle.

“In ‘Bonded for Life,’ Robbyne Wiley’s description of how she learned her son’s point of view through reverse role-playing, seems especially wise. Often, … Read More


NY Times Motherlode Features Story by Rise Writer

The New York Times’ Motherlode blog published When Finding Housing Is a Job in Itself by Rise’s Piazadora Footman:

Six years ago I went into the New York City shelter system. For 11 months I searched for apartments like crazy. I had few options. I had just come out of a psychiatric hospital. I had a 4-year-old son and was pregnant with my daughter. >>>READ MORE

Parent Support Resources

How Parent Attorneys Can Use Rise Stories as a Tool for Supporting Clients: ‘One of the biggest problems parents deal with is isolation’

Interview with parent attorney DAVID MEYERS of DEPENDENCY LEGAL SERVICES, CALIF:

I run a nonprofit law firm that represents parents and children in child welfare cases in six Northern California counties. I first came across Rise at the American Bar Association conference for parent attorneys.

In a variety of ways, Rise is the right tool for the job.

One thing we are all learning about child welfare is that one of the biggest problems parents deal with … Read More

Writing Groups

Seven Foster Care Agency Staff Complete Stories in Rise’s First Writing Workshop for Profesionals

Caseworkers and supervisors at Sheltering Arms became the first foster care agency staff to complete a Rise writing workshop, developing stories that reflected on their work with parents. Stories explore how these professionals came to learn about, connect with and improve their work with parents. Their compassionate explorations of the difficult–but often rewarding–work with parents in crisis document how sensitive casework can make a difference in family’s lives. These writers will share their stories with … Read More

Go to About Rise

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Rise covered in Fusion: “How the power of storytelling can change lives in child welfare cases”

Journalist Ada Calhoun covered Rise in Fusion, writing: “Nora McCarthy is a natural narrator. Even popping popcorn in a microwave down the hall from her modest office on Manhattan’s West 27th Street, the blond 40-year-old, wearing a white eyelet shirt, light pants and blue sandals, is preternaturally calm and methodical: “Huh, that was just three pops. I’m going to reset the timer… This bowl isn’t quite big enough… Hmm, how about this one? Okay, that … Read More

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