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.

What to Expect from Your Lawyer

When I first met my lawyer, she was just straightforward. She told me, “Stay with your rehab program, don’t use any drugs, don’t miss court or your visits,” and that was it. But as she saw that I was working to get my daughter home, she began to fight for me. She asked that I be granted weekend visits and told the judge, “I trust my client.”

The day the judge announced that my daughter could … Read More

Making the Best of a Bad Situation – NJ mother wins State Supreme Court ruling on addiction

When you’re addicted and find out you’re pregnant, it can feel like there’s no good way out. If you ask for help, you can wind up being accused of maltreating your baby. But if you don’t ask for help, you aren’t doing all you can to make sure you’re ready for your baby.

In December, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of an opiate-addicted pregnant women called Y.N., who followed … Read More

‘I Fought and Fought and Fought’ – I needed a lawyer to get my son home

Interview with Timothy Barbee

My journey in family court started because my fiancée died on me the day before my son’s 2nd birthday.

The day he was born, we’d had a little argument about his middle name. She wanted it to be James. I didn’t like it—I knew she’d had a boyfriend named James. She told me, “That’s my Daddy’s middle name!” I thought she was pulling a fast one on … Read More

Paying a Higher Price – Mothers of color, drugs and child welfare: What parents need to know

White and Black people in this country have similar rates of illegal drug use, but research shows that Black parents come to the attention of the child welfare system for drug use at far higher rates. One 1990 Florida study found that doctors were 10 times more likely to report Black women for drug use during pregnancy than White women. A more recent study, conducted between 2001 and 2007 in California, found that … Read More