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.

Collaboration Is Our Key – How parents in Washington State are changing hearts, minds and laws

In 2007, Children’s Home Society of Washington held a statewide summit for child welfare leadership. Parents who had been involved with the system made up 10% of participants. The keynote speaker, Brenda Lopez, “stunned everyone with her story of losing her kids and then getting them back and becoming a transformational person,” says Nancy Roberts-Brown, former director of Catalyst for Kids, a statewide coalition affiliated with the Children’s Home Society.

That summit led to two parent … Read More

When Doctors Abuse Their Power – A new book on the plight of families wrongly accused of child abuse

“They Took the Children Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families at Risk,” by parent attorney and policy advocate Diane Redleaf, tells the stories of families who faced allegations of abuse after they brought their children to the hospital for unexplained injuries, unusual symptoms, or after an accident.

Until 2017, Redleaf led the Family Defense Center in Chicago. Telling the stories from a lawyer’s perspective, she echoes many of the themes parents have sounded … Read More

Writing a Wrong – The courage of dedicated advocates can correct the injustices in the system

I unjustly lost 7 of my 8 children to the child welfare system because I was seen as unfit because I was a poor, African-American mother in an abusive relationship.

During my fight for my family, I discovered how child welfare professionals who don’t know you or your children can decide that you are a disease that your children need to be cured of.

Now I am determined to bring about change by writing about the harm … Read More

Minnesota parents take to the streets, the courts and the legislature

In Minnesota this year, parents and their allies began protesting what they say are routine violations of families’ rights as well as bias that leads to the overrepresentation of black and Native American families in the child welfare system. In Minnesota, a black child is 3 to 5 times more likely to be in foster care than a white child, and a Native American child is 17 times more likely to be in foster care, according to … Read More

Legislation is needed to protect due process for parents

Joyce McMillan is a child welfare affected parent and the coordinator of We Are Parents Too at Sinergia NY, an organization that supports and advocates for people with disabilities and their families. The former program director of the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) in NYC, McMillan explains why she believes the only way to really protect families is through community action and legislation.

Q: How did you become a parent advocate and what roles have you … Read More