Posts By: Rise

Portraits of Reunification

June’s National Reunification Month celebrates the perseverance of parents reunifying with children from foster care — and the professionals who support them.

Below are interviews with four parents who recently reunified with their children or are on their way. They were represented by lawyers, social workers and parent advocates at Brooklyn Defender Services — legal teams they said they cried with and shared their joy with, too.

Photos are courtesy of the Self Portrait Project, a citywide initiative … Read More

3 legal options to consider when facing termination of parental rights

If you’ve been o track in bringing your children home, you may feel that you’ve already lost. But it’s important to talk to your lawyer about exceptions to the Adoption and Safe Families Act that may allow you to continue working toward reunification. Each state has different rules. Below are some New York state exceptions you should talk to your lawyer about.

Termination of parental rights is not always mandatory:

Agencies can decide not to change the … Read More

Parents working together after adoption

Once it’s clear that a child is going to be adopted, it can be extremely hard for biological and adoptive parents to maintain a relationship with each other. But without it, children can be forced to choose between two families.

Sarah Gerstenzang, an adoptive parent, and co-founder of the Adoption Foster Care Therapist Network says there are steps both sides can take.

•Adoptive parents can speak to a therapist with the child about what kind of relationship … Read More

Parenting from Prison – ‘How Long Will You Be Here?’

I first met my step-daughter, Tyler, when she was 8 years old. One of the first questions she asked of me was, “How long will you be here (in prison)?” My wife, sensing that I would answer truthfully, interjected quickly, saying, “He’ll be home in a couple of years.” Actually, I had 10 more years to go before I would be eligible for release.

I didn’t agree with my wife’s response, but I felt that if … Read More

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