Legal Rights

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.

Rise Magazine

‘The Challenges of the Virus Have Acted Only to Heighten an Already Urgent Need for Systemic Change’

The coronavirus shutdown is putting stress on families and is negatively impacting families with child welfare involvement: Courts are closed, hearings are delayed and in-person visits and services are canceled. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Children’s Bureau has issued guidance to child welfare agencies.
 
Here, Jerry Milner, the Associate Commissioner of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, and David Kelly, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, explain parents’ rights and protections during the pandemic. They also discuss their guidance to child welfare agencies and courts and their vision for child welfare reform.

Rise Magazine

Making the Most of Virtual Visits in a Time of Separation and Uncertainty

Since the COVID-19 shutdown began, my emotions have flip-flopped between anger at the system, understanding for the safety of my children, and sadness in not seeing them, holding them, playing with them and reading to them. I feel a sense of helplessness knowing that, right now, their well-being is absolutely out of my control. I hope that soon this nightmare will end.

Legal Rights

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.

From Rights to Reality: A blueprint for parent advocacy and family-centered child welfare reform

From Rights to Reality  is designed to unite parents and parent advocacy around a common set of goals. It identifies 15 rights for parents affected by the child welfare system. Most parents do not yet have these rights in child welfare proceedings. From Rights to Reality represents a commitment to working in our communities and nationwide to make these rights a reality.

Each right is illustrated by parents’ stories—stories that show how families can be strengthened … Read More