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.

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

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