About Rise

Every year almost 300,000 children enter foster care nationwide. Media coverage of foster care focuses on tragic child deaths, the need for foster and adoptive parents, and the experiences of young people who “age out” of foster care at 18 or 21. Less understood is that more than half of children in foster care return home to their parents–and that nearly every child who enters foster care wants to go home.

Accessing family support services and navigating the family court system with little support requires extraordinary determination. Rise’s mission is to train parents to write and speak about their experiences in order to support parents and parent advocates and and to guide child welfare professionals in becoming more responsive to the families and communities they serve. Our goal is to reduce unnecessary family separations and increase the likelihood that children who are placed in foster care quickly and safely return home.

Through therapeutic writing workshops for parents, a publication reaching 20,000 readers nationwide, public speaking and staff training reaching thousands of child welfare professionals in New York City, and partnerships with foster care agencies to strengthen their supports for parents, Rise changes the story of who these parents are–and who they can become.

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

News

Rise Parent Leaders Deliver Keynote Address to ABA Parent Attorney Conference

Rise parent leaders Nancy Fortunato and Jeanette Vega presented to 400 attorneys at the American Bar Association conference for parent attorneys on April 25. Here is the text of their speech: 

Thank you for the opportunity to present about parents’ perspectives on family court.

The main thing we want you to hear today is that parents come into court feeling powerless. When our children are removed, we feel the ultimate in powerlessness.

To get our children back, we … 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

Advocacy

Strengthening the System through Parent Voice – The more child welfare can support parents using their voices during their case, the better equipped they’ll be to solve problems down the road

This is a speech Jeanette gave at the Schuyler Center as part of a panel on innovations in child welfare reform.

Today I will talk to you about what’s needed in child welfare reform from a parent’s perspective. That is voice—parents having a powerful voice in their cases and in the system.

You might be thinking, why does a parent need a voice?

I’m sure you hear us all the time screaming, fighting and arguing at the agencies. … Read More

Partners

‘We’ve come to see Rise as an organization that’s very thoughtful about how to do sophisticated training with caseworkers that has a real impact.’

Interview with Elizabeth McCarthy, CEO, and Jane Golden, Chief Program Officer at Sheltering Arms in New York City

Jane: For the past two years, our foster care staff have participated in writing groups led by Rise’s Editorial Director, Rachel Blustain. The group allowed the caseworkers to talk about what it’s like to do their job and to write stories about their experiences working with parents with children in foster care.

Elizabeth: We wanted to give staff an … Read More