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.

Finding a Community

I was 4 when I went into my first foster home. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and severe PTSD from abuse she suffered from her mother, who was an alcoholic. My father was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I was in and out of foster homes until I was 13, when I went back to my biological parents for good.

I had rocky times with my mother. Still, my mother worked hard to keep her … 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

A Responsibility to Support – Improving how child welfare systems respond to mothers who grew up in their care.

When you grow up in foster care and have a child, your greatest hope is that you’ll get to be your child’s Mommy. Your greatest fear is that you’ll fail, and your child will feel the same pain you felt. When you lose your mother, you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself.

Too often, our fears come true. Few child welfare systems nationwide track removals of children from mothers who have been in foster … 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