Posts By: Piazadora Footman

In Search of Security — When finding housing is a job in itself

Piazadora and her son

Six years ago I went into the New York City shelter system. For 11 months, I searched for apartments like crazy. I had few options. I had just come out of a psychiatric hospital. I had a 4-year-old son and was pregnant with my daughter. I had a housing voucher and was living off of supplemental security income and food stamps. I went in and out of real estate offices until I … Read More

The Fear Stays With Me – Living my life right hasn’t made me feel safe from an investigation

It seems like I’ve been afraid of child protective services all of my life.

Growing up in the projects, we called CPS the “Parent Police,” and it was normal for the girls I knew to lose custody of their children because they were smoking weed, drinking or hanging out late. Many of my friends still don’t have custody of their children.

I grew up in foster care, and I lost my own son, … Read More

‘Helping Children Means Helping Parents.’

Two years ago, Rise’s director, Nora McCarthy, said to me, “Hey, we got invited to do a presentation at ACS (New York City’s child welfare agency) to some top professionals in child welfare. Let’s write something up.”

Whoah, I was nervous. “How many people?” I asked.

She said, “50 or 100.”

Working on my speech, I was super excited. I really wanted to be heard and to tell professionals how we as parents feel trying to get our … Read More

‘When Can A Child Be Left Alone?’ – A new report argues that vague laws lead to unnecessary investigations and removals

When I was 7 years old I would ride the bus to school with my grandmother. When she got off the bus to go to work, I’d ride the bus a few more stops, then walk the four blocks to my school by myself. I didn’t think anything of it. My grandma taught me to never stray from the path and she also warned me to scream, kick or punch if someone tried to take … Read More

Laying the Past to Rest – Calming your body’s sensations can help to heal trauma.

Bessel Van Der Kolk, medical director of the Justice Treatment Institute’s Trauma Center in Massachusetts and renowned trauma treatment researcher and specialist, talks about ways to recover from trauma.

Q: Your recent book is called “The Body Keeps the Score.” Can you explain what that means and why it’s important for people who have experienced trauma to understand it?

A: Trauma lives in our bodies. Our brains try to keep our bodies from feeling that trauma. But … Read More