Trauma

Parents whose children enter foster care have often experienced serious trauma, including sexual assault, physical abuse or abandonment in childhood, community violence, and domestic violence. Research in NYC has found that more than half of mothers with children in care met the criteria for PTSD. Yet parents are rarely screened or treated for trauma. Learning about trauma–and the feelings of rage, shame, fear and hopelessness that so often come from trauma–can help you find the right supports and build a safer life for yourself and your children.

Do No Harm – Trauma-focused courts address the roots of foster care placement.

Since 2010, the Chautauqua County Family Court in upstate New York has worked to become a “trauma-informed court.” Here, Judge Judith Claire and Aimee Neri, a licensed social worker who is the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project Liaison to the 8th Judicial District, describe how they’ve brought awareness of trauma into the court and how it’s helping families:

Q: How did you decide to focus on trauma in your court?

Neri: We know that … 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

Everything Felt Like Nothing – I ran from my feelings and I didn’t know how to stop.

When you spend too much time as a kid in survival mode—feeling like you have no one to rely on and blocking out the pain whatever ways you can—sometimes you don’t realize in time that you have to change.

Alone in the System

I was raised by my grandmother until I was 10, when my mom decided she was done doing drugs and wanted her children. To me, it seemed like one big adventure. But when I … Read More

‘I Can See His Happiness Just By Watching Him’ – My foster parents showed my son and me how to feel safe

I am 19 years old, married with two sons. I am surrounded by love and family. However it was not always like this for me.

I am a foster care alumni. I first went into care at 3 and exited for good at 18. When I was in care, I felt I had no one to depend on. I couldn’t even be certain I would stay in one house for more than a week.

I was also … Read More

From Existing to Living – I needed courage and support to face my childhood and reconnect with my kids.

When my daughters were 4 and 2 years old, I began to feel so numb to my children. I grew up in foster care and have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. At the time, I felt alienated not only from being a mother but being a person. I was lost in space, feeling nothing but emptiness. I didn’t feel human.

Far From Normal

When I tried to play with my children, I … Read More