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.

Forever Family – My daughter’s foster mother is still part of our lives.

Illustration by Eric Green

In 1998 I was pregnant with my daughter when I was arrested for possession of crack cocaine. I was given a conditional release to go to a drug treatment program but for a long time I could not get it right. First I ran away from that program. Then, when I was let out on bail to give birth to my daughter, I purchased some crack while I … Read More

Standing Up for My Son – I had to fight to get my son out of the system.

art by Rudá Tillet

I was only 15 when my girlfriend of six months came out pregnant. Soon I found out that she was playing me. I was young and didn’t know what to do, so I left her with the belly.

When the baby was born, my mother took me to the hospital. We both took a good look at the baby and said the same thing, “That’s not my kid!”

The baby’s mother did … Read More

Do Over – Changing as a parent takes courage and practice.

art by Dayton Town

Most parents like me want their children to have an easy, decent life as far removed from what we ourselves experienced as possible. We want to be good parents, but sometimes it can be very difficult to know how if you grew up in foster care or in a home where you experienced abuse or neglect.

Losing my children to the system made me realize that I had a lot to … Read More

No More ‘Mother’s Helper’ – I want my daughter to have the childhood I couldn’t enjoy.

art by Freddy Bruce

Translated from Spanish.

All my life I watched my mother try to take care of her children emotionally and economically. It was not easy. My mother had 10 children (eight survived), and she and my father worked hard but were very poor.

I admired my mother because she was strong, but I was also very angry at her. I had to live apart from my parents most of my life and become … Read More

Se Acabó ‘La Ayudante de Mamá’ – Quiero que mi hija tenga la niñez que yo no pude gozar.

arte por Freddy Bruce

Read the English translation.

Toda mi vida observé a mi madre tratar de cuidar a sus niños emocional y económicamente. No fue fácil. Mi madre tuvo 10 niños (ocho sobrevivieron) y ella y mi papá trabajaron duro, pero eran muy pobres.

Yo admiraba a mi mamá porque ella era muy fuerte, pero también estaba muy enojada con ella por tener tantos hijos. Tuve que vivir aparte de mis papás la mayor parte … Read More