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. For 10 years Rise has worked with these parents to write and share their stories 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.

Through therapeutic writing workshops for parents, a publication reaching 20,000 readers nationwide, public speaking and staff training reaching more than 2,000 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.

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

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