Advocacy

Parent-led advocacy and parent input in child welfare reform is essential to better addressing the root causes of family crises; meeting the service needs of high-risk families; reducing disproportionate placements and disparate treatment of families of color; changing the adversarial relationship between child welfare systems and poor communities; improving court practices; and ensuring that foster care placement is used as sparingly as possible so that children are more likely to grow up safe with their families.

Jasmin’s Testimony

My son was 2 when I aged out of foster care. Soon I was going to college full time, working 40 hours a week and paying my own child care. Things were easier when I had the group home to help. Now I had nothing. If I failed, I’m screwed. And to the shelter we would go.

Because of all the stress, I barely saw my son. Monday I would pick him up from his Dad’s … Read More

Mariya’s Testimony

All my life, I have been ashamed of my family. My father left me and my mother when I was 6 years old. The only memories I have of him were all negative.

My mother was no better. She left my brother and me for another man, and had another child with him as well. My grandmother raised us but she passed when I was 11. As I was bounced around from group homes to foster … Read More

Strengthening the System through Parent Voice – The more child welfare can support parents using their voices during their case, the better equipped they’ll be to solve problems down the road

This is a speech Jeanette gave at the Schuyler Center as part of a panel on innovations in child welfare reform.

Today I will talk to you about what’s needed in child welfare reform from a parent’s perspective. That is voice—parents having a powerful voice in their cases and in the system.

You might be thinking, why does a parent need a voice?

I’m sure you hear us all the time screaming, fighting and arguing at the agencies. … Read More

Time, Patience and Love – Despite fear, parents can get out of the system’s shadow

Jeanette delivered this speech at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services Reunification Month event “Better Together: A Celebration of Families” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on June 25, 2016, and the New Jersey Legal Services’ Family Reunification Day event on June 30: 

Telling people my story was never my thing. Talking about myself, my life, was not something I wanted to do. But when I became a parent leader in child welfare, I decided to … Read More

‘Keep a Sharp Eye Out for People Like Me’: Speech to child welfare investigators and attorneys

When I was 19, and my son was 2, I lost my son to the child welfare system for three years because I hit him with a belt.

I was raised that if you get out of line, you get hit. Mom and Grandma would hit us with a belt or throw slippers at us, the old school Puerto Rican way. When I moved to Philly, Step-dad was worse. He was the throw-you-down-the-stairs, you-gonna-respect-my-rules, don’t play … Read More