Updates

Torn apart by adoption

I was fighting tears at the last court date before I was taken off the case.

Ms. M, my client, stood and stated that she had neglected her child. The judged asked if she understood what was happening. With a smile, Ms. M said, “Yes.” But I felt quite sure she didn’t.

I think Ms. M believed that making the admission meant she was not going to lose her parental rights. But for over two years, Ms. … Read More

Parenting

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

Finding Support

Act Now, Pay Later – When my son entered foster care, I couldn’t think, plan, or stay calm

Before my son entered foster care, I was working full time and going to school full time. I was known for multi-tasking. I never kept a calendar but I could make all appointments and never be late. I was on it. But once child welfare got involved in my life, things went sideways real fast.

After I lost my son, it was like I lost control over my body and mind. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t … Read More

Handling Your Case

When Stress Is Toxic – Bringing the science of child development into child welfare

BY JEANETTE VEGA with Dominique Arrington and Sharkkarah Harrison

When children are removed from home, parents feel a level of grief and stress that can hardly be explained. Then they often face more stress, with things like losing a job because of mandated services, losing housing and juggling multiple services.

When our bodies feel too much pressure and threat, stress can put us in an “act now, think later” mentality that makes it even harder to … Read More

Handling Your Case

Devastated — We couldn’t explain our infant’s fractures and he was taken for 17 months

Before child welfare came into my family’s life, my understanding of the court system was that truth is found by careful and dutiful dissection in the court room; evidence is paramount and lies are dissolved. However, I have come to learn that in child welfare, there are flaws that tilt the scales of justice.

The family is considered guilty until proven innocent. The state’s Department of Human Service (as it’s called here in Oregon) has adequate … Read More

From Rights to Reality: A blueprint for parent advocacy and family-centered child welfare reform

From Rights to Reality  is designed to unite parents and parent advocacy around a common set of goals. It identifies 15 rights for parents affected by the child welfare system. Most parents do not yet have these rights in child welfare proceedings. From Rights to Reality represents a commitment to working in our communities and nationwide to make these rights a reality.

Each right is illustrated by parents’ stories—stories that show how families can be strengthened … Read More