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.

Home Safe Home – I’m looking for supportive housing for my son and me

Before my son came home from foster care, I lived in supportive housing for almost a year. My program helped me with practical things, like learning the NYC buses and trains. But the main thing they helped me with was not isolating myself.

When I was younger, I didn’t know positive ways of handling my emotions. When I felt too sad, afraid, lonely or angry, I would do whatever I could to escape those … Read More

Safe and Loved – I began to heal when I stopped carrying the burden of sexual abuse in silence

I used to walk down the street looking at people. People looked back at me. I wanted to talk to someone, but my mom told me not to talk to strangers. But I am a person that likes talking. And I needed to tell someone what was happening to me.

Carrying a Burden

My life changed when I was 9. I was hit by a car, and soon after I came home from the … Read More

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