Posts By: Keyna Franklin

A Day to Remember: ‘I wanted them to know I missed them with all my heart.’

My children came home a week before Easter, but when they walked in it was Easter for them. I had new toys, clothing and an Easter basket waiting for them. Even though they knew that I loved them, I wanted them to know that I missed them with all my heart. I took them out to eat, play and to the movies. We played games, danced around the house and watched TV. I cooked some food because they missed my home cooking. 

It was so unreal to hear all of them call me mom at one time. I had been waiting for that for a whole year and three months. The kids stayed up half the night, excited because we all were home together in one house. 

When they went to sleep I checked on them the whole night. I didn’t think it was real that they were home. After they went to bed, I sat in my room and cried because my children were back with me. I didn’t think this day would come true. I had worked so hard to get them back home.

How Holistic Legal Representation Supports Reunification

As part of our Fighting for Our Rights series and in recognition of National Reunification Month, Rise is exploring how parent legal representation can support reunification.

Here, Rise talks with Marty Guggenheim, professor of clinical law at NYU Law School, co-director of NYU Law School’s Family Defense Clinic and co-author of the study “Effects of an interdisciplinary approach to parental representation in child welfare.” His research proves that interdisciplinary legal representation—an approach where a legal team includes a lawyer, parent advocate and social worker—helps families safely reunify more quickly. His research also shows that many children do not need to be in foster care at all.

Suing the System: ‘It was about fighting for my rights.’

NYC parent LaQuana Chappelle explains how and why she sued ACS.

LaQuana Chappelle’s children were removed by ACS illegally following an accident. After she got her kids back, she got a lawyer and sued the system. The case was settled with the City of New York paying damages to LaQuana and her children.

Here, LaQuana discusses her experience, the importance of knowing your rights and her advice for other parents who are considering suing.

A Parent’s Ally: Providing “A Bridge” for Parents in Early Legal Representation

Parent advocates have an essential impactful role in providing effective legal representation to protect parents’ rights, prevent family separation and support parents involved with the child welfare system. Here, Iesha Hammons, the Parent Ally at Legal Services of New Jersey, explains how she supports parents, why she does this work, the challenges of being a Parent Ally and how she takes care of herself in the role.

How to Plan and Stay Calm Despite Stress

Interview with Kiran Malpe, clinical director of the Strong Starts Court Initiative in NYC

Planning is really important during stressful times, and there’s a part of our brain that plans, organizes and carries out our tasks. But stress and depression can affect our planning.

The word “stress” minimizes what court-involved families experience, which is “toxic stress.” That’s feeling overwhelmed and having no one to help you.

With toxic stress, parents may have difficulty maintaining routine … Read More