Mental Health

Parents with mental illness are far more likely than other parents to lose their children to foster care. Children with mental illness or behavioral problems also are more likely to enter foster care, either to receive intensive services or because of family stress. Fear and shame can keep parents from reaching out for help. Effective services can also be very hard to find. Stories here explore parents’ experiences finding support for themselves and their children.

There and Back – One painful day ripped my family apart. Fifteen years later, we’re coming together again.

art by Karolina Zaniesienko

When my daughter was 12, she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. She went through the trauma of being raped and left to die. This had a devastating impact on her life and mine. She is only now, 15 years later, beginning to heal.

It happened one morning when I left home early to go to a job interview and my children, Pilar and Maurice, were late getting ready for school. Maurice … Read More

Paying for the Past – After years in foster care, my son came home angry. Could we be a family again?

On December 8, 2000, my 15-year-old son was discharged into my custody after spending a long time in a residential treatment center. I thought everything would be good. I had wanted him to come home for so long. But his anger soon overwhelmed me.

My children were taken from me when my son was 5, because of my drug addiction. In foster care, Luis’ anger just grew and grew. He was angry at the system because … Read More

A Safe Place to Connect – How therapy can help your family heal.

HELPING HAND

Adrienne Williams-Myers, program director of Project Safe at the Northside Center for Child Development, explains how therapy can support reunifying families:

Q: How can therapy help families reconnect?

A: When parents and kids are involved in the system, their world has been full of other people telling them what to do. Therapy is a time for them to focus on themselves and their goals. I help families identify their strengths, resilience and love for each … Read More

‘It’s OK to Need Support’ – I found the help I needed to fight for my dreams.

Q: How can therapy help families reconnect?

A: When I started to come to the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, a preventive services agency, my main objective was to get help talking to my son’s father.

Since I was a child I had dreamed about meeting a good man who wanted to share my dreams to marry and form my own family. Unfortunately, I met the father of my child and a little while later … Read More

Winning Him Back – My visits proved I was worth my son’s trust.

My baby’s father passed away when I was pregnant. After, I felt I had to block out everything I was feeling so I wouldn’t lose the baby. But I found out later that those feelings were still with me.

For three years, life was pretty uneventful for my son and me. We went to the park to feed the squirrels. We watched Sesame Street and Barney together. He would help me make dinner and we’d eat … Read More