Legal Rights

Parents’ legal rights in child welfare proceedings vary from state to state, and even in different cities. Work with your lawyer or a parent advocate to learn more about your rights. Rise’s interviews with lawyers offer guidance on your rights and responsibilities.

Suing the System: ‘It was about fighting for my rights.’

NYC parent LaQuana Chappelle explains how and why she sued ACS.

LaQuana Chappelle’s children were removed by ACS illegally following an accident. After she got her kids back, she got a lawyer and sued the system. The case was settled with the City of New York paying damages to LaQuana and her children.

Here, LaQuana discusses her experience, the importance of knowing your rights and her advice for other parents who are considering suing.

How to Sue the System

Attorney David Lansner explains how children and parents can sue the child welfare system

By Sarah Harris, Shakira Paige, Careena Farmer, Cynthia Zizola and Genesis Pagan, Rise Contributors, and Keyna Franklin, Rise Parent Leader

Many parents feel that what we experienced at
the hands of child welfare was unjust but that there’s nothing we can do about
it. We wanted to find out if that was true, so we interviewed David Lansner, a
family court lawyer in New York City … Read More

A Parent’s Ally: Providing “A Bridge” for Parents in Early Legal Representation

Parent advocates have an essential impactful role in providing effective legal representation to protect parents’ rights, prevent family separation and support parents involved with the child welfare system. Here, Iesha Hammons, the Parent Ally at Legal Services of New Jersey, explains how she supports parents, why she does this work, the challenges of being a Parent Ally and how she takes care of herself in the role.

Protecting Families from Poverty—and CPS: How Early Legal Representation is Working in New Jersey

Parents struggling to provide for their children are often surprised to learn that gaps in basic care caused by poverty can result in allegations of neglect and child removal. Parents struggling with lack of adequate housing or poverty need access to resources and support, not an intrusive child welfare investigation, mandated services, or separation.

How Early Legal Representation Can Protect Families

NYC parents at risk of child protective involvement or facing an investigation can now access legal representation through family defense organizations in their communities. In October, NYC’s City Council also introduced a bill t would ensure that all parents being investigated by ACS have information about how to access a lawyer and the opportunity to do so, although it hasn’t yet passed. Here, Emma Ketteringham, managing director of The Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Project, explains the importance of early legal representation and systemic reform to reduce child welfare involvement. The Bronx Defenders has been providing early legal representation to parents facing ACS investigations for 15 years.