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.

‘When Can A Child Be Left Alone?’ – A new report argues that vague laws lead to unnecessary investigations and removals

When I was 7 years old I would ride the bus to school with my grandmother. When she got off the bus to go to work, I’d ride the bus a few more stops, then walk the four blocks to my school by myself. I didn’t think anything of it. My grandma taught me to never stray from the path and she also warned me to scream, kick or punch if someone tried to take … Read More

‘We Want to Be Heard, Not Fixed’ – Child welfare needs to focus on supporting people, not fixing problems.

When we grow up in care, we’re mandated to services. When we come back into the system as parents, it still feels like no one’s listening to what we think we need. Here, five foster care alum and parents—whose names have been changed because they have open cases—explain the approaches that have worked for them.

1. To support parents, listen to what we say we need.

Sienna: When you’re involved in the system, as a child or … Read More

‘When Someone Takes Care of Us, It’s Easier For Us to Take Care of Our Children’ – Recommendations from young mothers who grew up in foster care.

Since 2012, Rise has worked with or interviewed more than 40 mothers who grew up in foster care. Here, five New York City mothers share their perspectives on how child welfare can better partner with parents who grew up in care. Chitara Plasencia, 17, Jennie Alvarado, 18, and TyAsia Nicholson, 21, are members of a support group for young mothers at Lawyers For Children, which provides legal and social work advocacy for young people in … Read More

‘In Rise, there’s all these amazing parents from across the nation that have succeeded. The message is that you are not alone.’

Kimberly: All of us are parent leaders in Washington State. We’re “veteran parents”—parents who are veterans of the child welfare system. I got involved 8 years ago. CPS had taken my daughter. When I got her back, they asked me to get involved in implementing the first Parent-to-Parent program. Now I’m a social worker at the Office of Public … Read More

‘I Made a Mistake’ Not ‘I Am a Mistake’ – How parents—and the child welfare system—can stand up to shame.

Ambrosia Eberhardt, Danielle Goodwin and Heather Cantamessa are “Veteran Parents” with the Washington State Parent Advocate Network, a project of The Children’s Home Society. Here, they explain the importance of addressing shame in child welfare:

Q: Parent advocates and child welfare administrators in Washington state have begun a series of panel discussions on shame. Why shame?

Heather: All of us are parent advocates who had our own children placed in foster care. In the past year, we’ve … Read More