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

Legal Rights

Two Years Gone – A family came to the hospital asking for help. Once there, everything changed.

In March 2013, a poor Chinese immigrant mother in Brooklyn took her 9-month-old baby, Mathew, to the hospital because he’d had a seizure. She explained that he’d fallen trying to walk and hit his head, then had the seizure. Hospital personnel and New York’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) charged that either the mother, Mei Qi Bao, or the baby’s father, Xiao Hang Wang, had abused their son. They said his symptoms could not have … Read More

Handling Your Case

What You Should Know About Child Safety Conferences

In NYC, parents facing removal of their children are asked to attend a Child Safety Conference, where a decision is made whether or not a child will be placed in foster care. Many other jurisdictions hold similar conferences.

As a Parent Advocate, I have supported parents in hundreds of conferences. When parents come prepared, it can increase the chances that children remain at home, and it shows that you are committed to resolving concerns about you.

1st … 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