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.

Still “Mommy” – I’m signing over guardianship but I’m not giving up on my kids

I lost my kids 6 years ago. On April 8th 2008 I went to court for a removal of the kids. My kids were 7, 6 and 2. That was basically the worst day of my life.

When I first had my kids I was living with my mother. Then, when my youngest was born, I went to the shelter with her father. We got an apartment together. But then he went to jail.

It was hard … Read More

Words, Not Fists – To get my daughter home, I had to change how I fight

I am 51 years old with four children—Adam, 31; Osman, 27; Julio, 17; and Samantha, 10. Samantha came home to me from foster care five months ago.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve struggled with depression and addiction.

My childhood was painful. My mother died when I was 7 years old. One day she went into the hospital, never to come back out. I remember the cops at the door to say that my mother had … Read More

Advice from a Parent Advocate: Making your voice heard in case planning

Interview with Sherry Tomlinson, a parent leader in Columbus, Kansas

For more than 15 years, Sherry Tomlinson worked in the child welfare system. Then she lost her son to it. Today, she runs a recovery and jail ministry in Columbus, Kansas; works alongside an attorney representing parents in family court; and is an active member of the Birth Parent National Network, a national coalition of parents affected by the child welfare system.

As a parent helping … Read More

Advice from a Parent Advocate: Communicating With Your Caseworker

Interview with Toni Miner, Family Support Partner

When the child welfare system first came into Toni Miner’s life, she felt shamed and blamed and not supported. For many years, Miner hid her problems—and that led child welfare to come back into her life.

Today, as a family support partner in Jefferson County, Colorado, and a member of the Birth Parent National Network, Miner believes it’s still too hard for parents to be open about their struggles, but … Read More

Healing the Hate and Hurt – How I learned to control my anger so my son could come home

Feeling powerless can make you feel angry. Angry is how I felt the whole three years my son was in foster care—and how I acted.

Finally, a worker took me aside and was straight with me. She told me that the way I was acting made the agency think I was the kind of person who would solve any problem with violence, and that made them think that it was not safe for me to have … Read More