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.

Rise Testimony to City Council: Nov. 27, 2018 Hearing on Family Separation in Family Court

Hello Councilmembers,

Thank you for your attention to the issue of family separation in New York City family court. Although many people across our city and country have been moved by seeing how it affects children and families to be separated at the border, the separations that happen every day because of child welfare are seen differently. These families are seen as deserving separation, even though in many cases, families do not need to be separated—or … Read More

Paying It Forward – As a peer mentor, I help fathers and change the system

Interview with Dustin McClard 

When child protective services entered Dustin McClard’s life in 2014, he was using and selling drugs, and facing the possibility of prison. His twins were removed shortly after birth and remained in foster care for three months while he went to treatment.

Now McClard works as a peer mentor at a family service agency in Portland, Oregon. He spoke to Rise about how his mentor, Tim, helped him get sober and … Read More

Peer Pressure – How parents are changing the child welfare system

BY KEYNA FRANKLIN and JEANETTE VEGA

For decades, parents in the child welfare system have felt powerless, demonized, silenced and alone. Things have begun to change in places where parents have united to use their shared experience to support one another and work for change.

 Today, according to the Birth Parent National Network, there are organizations of child welfare-affected parents in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota and Washington.

In … Read More

Uplifting Every Voice – Together we can change the perception of parents created by the child welfare system

It was a knock on my door in the middle of the night in 1999 that altered the trajectory of my life. I was residing in a family shelter with my 2,4, and 6-year old boys when it happened. I looked through the peephole and saw an African American man and woman. They were caseworkers from New York City’s Administration for Children Services (ACS).

They told me they were there to remove my children because I … Read More

Joining the System – Parent advocates who have been both child and parent of the system are a powerful resource to improve it.

The first time I visited my son in foster care, I walked into the same CPS office that I’d sat in as a child. I saw my son looking at me with tears running down his face the same exact way I’d looked at my mom. As I walked through the halls of the same courthouse I watched the designs on the floor just like I used to. I was livid that child welfare was … Read More