Finding Support

Stories for Parents Under Stress

Stories

Act Now, Pay Later – When my son entered foster care, I couldn’t think, plan, or stay calm by Jeanette VegaHome Safe Home – I’m looking for supportive housing for my son and me by Sara WernerMommy Time – I had to change for my children’s sake by Melissa Landrau

Articles

When Stress Is Toxic – Bringing the science of child development into child welfare by Jeanette Vega with Dominique Arrington and Sharkkarah Harrison

Resources

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Legal Rights

When Schools Use Child Welfare as a Weapon – What a reporter learned investigating malicious reports

Last November, The Huffington Post published an article that documented how some schools misuse reports to child protective services. These reports were done to pressure parents to send a child with behavior problems to a different school or to agree to a school’s recommendations for services.

Most school personnel don’t make reports maliciously, but the reporter, Caroline Preston, a senior editor at The Hechinger Report, said she thinks mandated reporting laws contribute to these kinds of calls because “there are pretty significant consequences to not reporting, and many fewer consequences to over-reporting.”

Here, Preston tells us about the parents she interviewed—and all the parents who reached out after her story was published to say they’d had similar experiences.

Handling Your Case

My Broken Life – My kids were never taken but child protective services hurt my son and me so much

My story is about how my son’s school came into my life and changed it in a way that I don’t know if I can ever be who I was before.

It’s about how I got arrested. Lost my job. Have sleepless nights.

A part of me has been stolen.

If I had the power, I would let the system know that child protective services needs to do proper investigations. Don’t label me without knowing me.

I live in the South Bronx. In my neighborhood, there are a lot of investigations. If I lived elsewhere and my son went to a different school, I think this would have never, ever happened.

Mental Health

A Punishment Worse Than the Crime – I was charged with abuse but my kids were harmed in foster care

September 20th, 2018 was the worst day of my life. My kids were removed from my custody because on September 19, 2018, my boyfriend used corporal punishment on my younger son.

He did it because my son flooded our new apartment and the basement three days in a row by removing a piece from the toilet. After the third time, my boyfriend hit him with a belt, leaving red marks on his back and arm.

The next day, my son went to the school nurse. When they asked him what happened, he said he fell down the stairs, he went into a wall, he got beat up. He came up with like six different stories. Because he had so many stories, the school called me and then they called child protective services.

I felt terrified. I also felt betrayed. For a year I was asking for help for my son’s behavior and nobody was willing to help.

Rise Magazine

Surveillance Isn’t Safety: When Schools Over-Report

Schools play an outsized role in putting families in the child welfare pipeline. Nationwide, schools are the number one driver of reports of suspected child abuse and neglect to the State Central Registry, accounting for almost 20 percent of calls.

In the coming weeks, Rise will provide immediate information to support parents facing a school challenge—legal information about mandated reporting, educational neglect and “excessive corporal punishment,” as well as guidance on requesting an IEP and negotiating to meet your child’s needs.

We also challenge systems nationwide and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and Department of Education to better inform school personnel about mandated reporting and referrals to community-based services so that they don’t make unnecessary reports.

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