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.

NY State Legislature Passes New Open Adoption Bill to Protect Children’s Family Bonds

Legislators in New York State are considering passing a bill to ensure that children adopted from foster care can continue to have contact with their parents, even when rights are terminated, if it’s in the child’s best interest. Here, Rise’s Sara Werner, who lost her daughter to adoption but reunified with her son, interviews Amy Mulzer, a staff attorney for law and appeals in the Family Defense Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services:

Q: What is … Read More

HBO’s ‘Foster’ Documents a Brutal System but Leaves Out the Solutions That Can Strengthen Families

“Foster” is a documentary that aired on HBO on May 7th and focuses on the lives of a few children in the Los Angeles foster care system. I’ve been hurt by the system as a child and a parent. I expected the film to show only the angelic side of the system—to portray how the system protects children and saves their lives. But I found myself shocked at the rawness of the film. It showed … Read More

‘This is not a child safety crisis. It’s a poverty crisis, a racism crisis.’ – A social worker and former foster youth featured in HBO’s ‘Foster’ shares her vision of societal and system change

In the HBO documentary “Foster,” Jessica Chandler is a foster care social worker, a mother of two boys, and a former foster youth who speaks candidly about addressing the root causes of child welfare involvement—racism, historical trauma, poverty and family stress. Since age 18, Jessica has been an advocate “writing letters, sharing my story, and explaining to people that kids shouldn’t be penalized for the things we go through in poverty.” Jessica hopes the film … Read More

Standing Strong – The knowledge, skills and peer support parents need to lead

Supporting parents and working to change the system brings meaning to advocates’ lives. But it’s also painful work. Here, Rise Training Director Jeanette Vega, Senior Parent Leader Nancy Fortunato and Parent Leader Keyna Franklin explain their own journeys and the support they believe all parents need to lead change. Both Jeanette and Nancy began at NYC’s Child Welfare Organizing Project, the first parent advocacy and peer support organization in the country.

Fortunato: When I was a … Read More