Finding Support

All parents need places where they feel safe and supported. Many parents want help but fear opening up about their struggles and don’t know where to safely find support. If children are in foster care, parents may not know what services to ask for to help them heal. Parents write about the supports that have helped them feel safe, bond with their children, grow as people and parents, reunify with their children—and keep their children out of foster care.

Trying Again – This time, I have the support to face my feelings

I first smoked crack on a cold winter day when I was 19. At the time I was feeling desperate. I’d heard that crack would make me feel no pain, and it did. What pulled me in was the tinge, the suspense, the thrill and the numbness.

I’m 30 now, and for the past 11 years I’ve struggled to break my addiction and be a mother to my children. I have four girls—three are … Read More

‘I Needed Help That People in My Life Couldn’t Give Me’ – Through preventive services I’ve found ways to feel safe, calm and connected

My father was gone and my mother had died by the time I was 7. I was raised by relatives. My main caregiver was what you’d consider “old fashioned”—strict and not very affectionate. I felt insecure and always looked over.

When I was 13, I began to rebel. At 17, my relatives placed me in foster care.

Going through foster care gave me strength and resilience but also a place of loneliness and feeling unloved.

After I aged … Read More

Getting Connected – A peer support group keeps at-risk newborns and mothers together

Reporting by Dominique Arrington and Jeanette Vega

Dealing with child welfare can be a scary and shameful experience. Mothers who become pregnant when they already have children in foster care feel particularly vulnerable, because their babies are at high risk of being removed right from the hospital.

In 2013, The Bronx Defenders, a New York City legal organization, created Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to support these moms.

The program offers weekly support groups, advocacy and referrals. It even … Read More

A Step in My Direction – I wanted to be left alone but kindness helped me find my way

My kids were taken into custody in 2007. I was using meth and selling also.

I never, ever wanted to hurt my kids. I thought I loved them with all my heart.

At the time, Jayme was 2 and Sheryl was 3. My kids loved to be with me. I rode a bike with a trailer attached to the back that the kids loved to ride in. They would cry when … Read More

Someone to Turn To

Having no one to turn to makes parenting harder and increases the risk of child maltreatment. But until now, the federal government has mostly funded investigations and removals, without putting much money into supporting and strengthening families. Too often, what that teaches parents is to hide their problems rather than reach out for help.

This summer, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced the Family Stability and Kinship Care Act, which would allow states to expand support … Read More