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.

To Speak or Not to Speak – Weighing the pros and cons of revealing past trauma in court.

When parents are facing a child welfare case, they often keep silent about their past history of trauma. Sometimes parents’ past experiences are too painful to talk about. Other times parents fear that talking openly about experiences of violence or victimization might hurt their case. Parents are right to be concerned that what they say in court or to their worker can be used against them. At the same time, keeping all past … Read More

In My Corner – My lawyer believed in me even when my family didn’t.

Most people I come in contact with have horrible stories about their lawyers. Not me. I had a good experience with my two lawyers, Charlyne Peay and Sharon Yoo. They were from the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project, an effort to connect parents with mental illness to private practice lawyers who volunteer to represent them in child welfare proceedings.

In Good Hands

In my case, I didn’t have the right to a … Read More

Eat, Play, Love – Visits helped me become a good mother.

When my daughter was 18 months old, she was removed from home because my husband and I were using drugs. At our first visit, my husband and I were very anxious. I was scared that my daughter would forget me or feel that I did not want her anymore.

Waiting in the hallway for our baby, we saw a Spanish man holding a little girl. The girl looked like my baby but she had bangs. Could … Read More

‘Your Actions Are Setting You Back’ – Losing my temper in visits hurt my case.

Jeanette with her oldest son, Remi, and Xavier and Zachary.

In 1999, my 2-year-old son Remi was removed because I hit him and my family called child welfare on me. I was only 17 years old when Remi was born. Remi was an all-over-the-place, running around, never-sitting-still type of kid. It was partially my fault. I spoiled him rotten. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do—spoil him and love him to death.

I didn’t … Read More

A Knock on the Door – My family needed support, not separation.

About 7 p.m. there was a knock on the door. I was afraid I already knew who it was and that my family was in trouble.

The problems started when my son was 10 years old and his grandfather died. His grandfather was more like a father to him than his own father. Many times when my son would visit their house, his father wouldn’t be there, but his grandfather was, and they’d sit and talk … Read More