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.

‘When Can A Child Be Left Alone?’ – A new report argues that vague laws lead to unnecessary investigations and removals

When I was 7 years old I would ride the bus to school with my grandmother. When she got off the bus to go to work, I’d ride the bus a few more stops, then walk the four blocks to my school by myself. I didn’t think anything of it. My grandma taught me to never stray from the path and she also warned me to scream, kick or punch if someone tried to take … Read More

Dreaming Again – Parenting Journey, therapy and writing are helping me believe in myself.

Being raised in foster care and my daughters ending up there used to seem like an unbreakable cycle. I had feelings of being stuck in the past. The abuse I encountered at home and in foster care left scars so deep. I suffer from them as I write this story.

Triggered

Going into adulthood I prayed and promised myself that I wouldn’t continue the cycle. But the problems I wanted to run from consumed me. My first … Read More

Protecting Your Privacy – How to work with your lawyer to keep therapy as confidential as possible.

When you’ve grown up in foster care and you return to the system as a parent, it often seems like the court knows your entire mental health history. Because your current therapist also reports to the court about your progress, therapy can wind up feeling neither private nor safe.

Sonja Jacobsen, a lawyer for parents in Washington State, explains how to make therapy safer.

Q: Why is therapy important for parents when kids are in foster care?

A: … Read More

Fight and Flight – Will my family ever be safe from child welfare’s reach?

I became pregnant at 18. I was living in Champaign, Illinois, under state custody. I was a runaway from a transitional living placement and had met the man of my dreams.

We were in love and so happy to become parents. Still, I worried. I told my boyfriend all about my involvement with the state. He said we weren’t doing anything wrong so I didn’t need to be afraid. But I knew … Read More

Reducing the Risk – Mothers in foster care need to know what’s in their case file and address risks.

Many of us who grew up in foster care feel like the child welfare system is just waiting for us to mess up, and according to the American Bar Association’s Center for Children and the Law, 77% of lawyers who responded to a recent survey said they believe that mothers in foster care are separated from their children for less serious allegations than other mothers.

Here, Jessica Weidmann, a lawyer at the Center for Family Representation … Read More