Poverty

Girl Gone—When life dealt me a hard blow, CPS took my daughter

On August 25, 2015, I experienced a parent’s worst nightmare. I arrived at my daughter’s bus stop to pick her up only to find out she was not on it. It’s a horrible feeling not knowing where your child is. Then one of my daughter’s friends said that she had left school with two adults.

I called the school and learned that the Department for Families and Children of Lexington, Kentucky had taken her. I called … Read More

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

News

Nancy’s Story: Helping Parents Find Their Power

I never want another parent or child to feel like I did facing the child welfare system—alone and powerless.

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I was 5 years old when I was removed from my mother. My mother was at times loving, but God rest her soul, suffered from schizophrenia.

After that, I was placed with my grandmother, but my grandmother was not a loving person—no hugs or kisses. I never really understood that.

When she gave us up, my sister and I went … 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

Step-by-step financial independence

Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) in Boston pairs low-income parents with professionals to support them in gaining the resources and skills needed to attain financial self-sufficiency. Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Associate Vice President of Capacity Building for EMPath, explains how families can move up financially.

Q: How can mentoring help parents improve their economic stability?

A: Participants are paired with “Mobility Mentors”. Some participants are homeless and not working. Others work full-time but are still struggling. … Read More

Parent Support Resources

Promise of Partnership—new confidential resource centers for NYC families

This spring, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services will open Family Enrichment Centers (FECs) in three neighborhoods with high child welfare involvement—Highbridge and Hunt’s Point in the Bronx and East New York, Brooklyn—run by Good Shepherd Services, Graham Windham, and the Bridgebuilders Community Partnership. Each site will have a director, two parent advocates, and a community liaison.

Jacqueline Martin, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Preventive Services, and Kailey Burger, Assistant Commissioner for Community Based Strategies in the … 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

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

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.