Parenting

All parents face confusion and stress raising children. When parents or children face significant challenges like poverty, mental health issues, addiction, family violence, foster care placement, or histories of trauma, it can be even harder to know how to build a safe and loving family life. Stories here explore how parents have overcome challenges to build strong families.

The Diagnosis

I didn’t want to believe that my daughter was autistic, but getting the diagnosis has helped us both

The psychologist’s waiting room was dim and cozy but my
daughter was impatient, running up and down. Several doctors came out to see
who was causing the ruckus. Finally, my daughter’s psychologist came out. She
sat quietly observing my daughter for a few minutes, jotting down notes and asking
me questions.

Finally, I blurted out, “Doctor, is my daughter delayed?”

When she said … Read More

Breaking Down Barriers — Once I trusted my caseworker, I was able to make progress

I met my caseworker Gloria when I went to rehab after I got the case. The first time we met, she explained how she could help me get my kids back if I put forth the effort. It was hard to believe her because she worked for the same people who took the ones I loved. But she let me know that my children belonged with me, that she believed in me and that I … Read More

Parenting from Prison – ‘How Long Will You Be Here?’

I first met my step-daughter, Tyler, when she was 8 years old. One of the first questions she asked of me was, “How long will you be here (in prison)?” My wife, sensing that I would answer truthfully, interjected quickly, saying, “He’ll be home in a couple of years.” Actually, I had 10 more years to go before I would be eligible for release.

I didn’t agree with my wife’s response, but I felt that if … Read More

‘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