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.

Parent Support Resources

Supporting Families of Color: How Racial and Complex Trauma Affect Parents of Color Navigating Family Court During the Time of COVID and Beyond — A Report by Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R, Ph.D.

This report by Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R, Ph.D. is intended to provide family court officers and child welfare professionals who engage with child welfare involved (CWI) parents, introductory knowledge on the trauma-informed approach. Readers will be introduced to the importance of using the trauma-informed approach in their work with CWI parents, with a focus on the impact that language has on the way in which CWI parents are depicted and responded to in the courtroom. Definitions of key terms are provided first, followed by an overview of the trauma-informed approach and its application to working with CWI parents. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report has been updated to include recommendations for trauma-informed practices that best support families during a period of collective/shared trauma. Then the section titled, “What parents want you to know”, provides direct input from parents on their experiences, needs and perspectives. Finally, a composite vignette which compares traditional language to trauma-informed language is presented.

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