Posts By: Sharkkarah Harrison

After Care — I wish my service plan had prepared me for reunification

After spending four years in foster care, my 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were trial discharged to me in time for Christmas 2015.

The family shelter I was in with my 9-month-old baby wasn’t our idea of home, but my kids were happy just to be back with me and excited about their new brother.

It was the happiest day of our lives.

It was also the saddest, because a big part of our family was still missing—my oldest … Read More

No Room for Families — How the housing crisis contributes to kids entering foster care

Worrying about where your family will sleep while fearing the removal of your child is a burden that parents increasingly carry. In 2015, more than 200,000 families with children experienced homelessness in this country.

Here, Ruth White, Executive Director of the National Center for Housing & Child Welfare, explains how housing insecurity makes families more likely to face child protective investigations, have their children removed, and face delays in reunification.

Q: How do homelessness and … Read More

The Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting While Poor

Parents struggling to provide for their children are often surprised to learn that gaps in basic care such as inadequate food, clothing, and safe, stable housing can result in allegations of neglect and child removal.

Here, social worker Rick Barinbaum of The Center for Family Representation, and attorneys Eric Cloud, Mimi Laver and Carlyn Hicks (see p.3), explain what parents should be mindful of when hard times hit, and reforms that would prevent families from being … Read More

‘Poor’ Parenting— When poverty is confused with neglect

For poor parents, life often feels like an avalanche of misfortunes that invites judgment, mistrust and even charges of neglect.

Here Daniel Hatcher, author of “The Poverty industry: The exploitation of America’s most Vulnerable Citizens”; Carlyn Hicks, director at mission First Legal aid office in Mississippi; Chris Gottlieb, co-director of New York University’s Family Defense Clinic; Mimi Laver, director of legal education for the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law ; and attorney … Read More

Sharkkarah’s Story: Getting the Monster Out

To me, the child welfare system is like the monster in the dark in my kids’ room. I have done everything I’ve had to do to get that monster out.

When I became a mother, I wanted to end my family’s cycle of losing children to the foster care system.

My grandmother lost my father.

My mother and father lost me.

My sister lost her children.

My brother lost his child.

ACS came into my life because I was hitting my … Read More