Generations in Care

When you grow up in foster care and become a mother, your greatest hope is that you’ll get to be your child’s Mommy. Yet parents who grew up in foster care are at high risk of having their own children removed. Rise’s “My Story, My Life” writing workshops are for young mothers who grew up in care. Stories here describe the painful relationship between child welfare systems and the mothers they helped raise — and what it takes to keep children safe at home.

‘I Needed Help That People in My Life Couldn’t Give Me’ – Through preventive services I’ve found ways to feel safe, calm and connected

My father was gone and my mother had died by the time I was 7. I was raised by relatives. My main caregiver was what you’d consider “old fashioned”—strict and not very affectionate. I felt insecure and always looked over.

When I was 13, I began to rebel. At 17, my relatives placed me in foster care.

Going through foster care gave me strength and resilience but also a place of loneliness and feeling unloved.

After I aged … Read More

Getting Connected – A peer support group keeps at-risk newborns and mothers together

Reporting by Dominique Arrington and Jeanette Vega

Dealing with child welfare can be a scary and shameful experience. Mothers who become pregnant when they already have children in foster care feel particularly vulnerable, because their babies are at high risk of being removed right from the hospital.

In 2013, The Bronx Defenders, a New York City legal organization, created Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to support these moms.

The program offers weekly support groups, advocacy and referrals. It even … Read More

Being There for Baby—and Yourself: A new report focuses on supporting teen parents in foster care as parents and people.

Recently I had a chance to read the report “Expectant & Parenting Youth in Foster Care: Addressing their developmental needs to promote healthy parent and child outcomes” by Charlyn Harper Browne at the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

I became a mother while I was in foster care, and I found the report inspiring, relatable and informative. The report says that parents in the system and their children do best if the parents … Read More

From Enemy to Ally: Because my caseworker accepted me, I was able to believe in myself.

From ages 8 through 18, I was a foster child. I was in so many homes that I can’t remember them all. Some of my foster parents abused their authority. I didn’t know if my real parents loved me. I felt like everyone was against me.

I was 17 and at the hospital for a suicide attempt (my last) when I found out I was pregnant. I felt overwhelmed and so ashamed. … Read More

Awakening to Magic – In addition to services, times of joy, connection and wonder keep me going.

Magic really does exist. Magic is when you hear music that makes you laugh or cry; you feel it deep within your soul. Magic is also when you read a book that makes you feel like you can go anywhere and do anything while you stay safe and secure.

Magic is how you view the world. It’s walking in a garden and observing the beautiful flowers and magnificent trees, and seeing how soft and alive the … Read More