Handling Your Case

When children are placed in foster care, parents often feel overwhelmed, afraid, ashamed, angry and confused. Stories by other parents who have reunited with their children can help you navigate the child welfare system. Even if your goal is to fight the allegations in court, it’s usually a good idea to immediately enroll in services that the court is requiring, such as parenting classes or treatment. Stories here show how to work with your lawyer, caseworker and parent advocate; take the lead in planning support services; and stay connected with your children while they are in foster care.

Missing My Children on the Holidays – Focusing on the future got me through this difficult time of year

What I miss the most about my daughters, 6 and 7, is giving them a bath, drying them, watching them dance with their towels, lotioning them, and massaging their backs while they sing how good it feels. As they got dressed, they’d pose in the mirror, enjoying their outfits, loving their look. I would pretend I had a camera, taking pictures.

Then there’s my son Mandell. I miss giving him shape-ups with the razor, playing videogames … Read More

Out in Front — When my family was investigated, I was terrified but I took charge

It was August 2, 2010, 10:30 p.m. It was hot and my two children were dirty and sweaty from playing outside.

I was running their bath when the doorbell rang. My 10-year-old son ran to the door, then quickly ran back to the bathroom. “Mommy! Mommy! Child protective services is at the door.”

“That isn’t even funny to joke about,” I said. “No, Mom, really, they are,” he said. My heart pounded.

As … Read More

Bad Break — What to do when doctors accuse you of child abuse

When my daughter and her husband were accused of child abuse, we felt lost in darkness. But light came on social media from other families who shared advice and encouragement, while the attorneys and medical professionals who helped were the brightest lights. Here, Seattle-based lawyer Heather Kirkwood, who represents parents pro bono in medical cases, suggests steps parents can take.

Q: What can parents do to prove they haven’t abused their child?

Kirkwood: Get the best lawyer … Read More

Changing the Frame — How parents and investigators can focus on family strengths

INTERVIEW BY BEVANJAE KELLEY AND NANCY FORTUNATO

During a family crisis or investigation, it can be hard to believe you have strengths. Investigations, by their nature, make parents feel attacked and ashamed. But all parents have strengths, and being able to show investigators what’s positive about you and your family is incredibly important. Investigators need a full picture of families’ “protective factors,” because those factors have been shown to help keep children safe.

Here Corey Best, a … Read More

Investigations Can Make Children Less Safe – When poor parents feel like we have to hide our struggles, children suffer

I have a friend who recently gave birth and struggles with simple things, like having enough money for Pampers or WIC lasting the month. Because I have worked as a parent advocate, I know about resources for low-income families. I told her about a program that offers Pampers monthly for free, but she denied the help. She said they might call child protective services on her.

I said, “They won’t. They just assist with Pampers.” But … Read More