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 … Read More
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.
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
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
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
Recently I had a chance to read the report “Expectant & Parenting Youth in Foster Care: Addressing their developmental needs to promote healthy parent and child outcomes” by Charlyn Harper Browne at the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
I became a mother while I was in foster care, and I found the report inspiring, relatable and informative. The report says that parents in the system and their children do best if the parents … Read More