‘It’s up to all of us to stretch out our hands and lift families up’

Rise Senior Parent Leader Nancy Fortunato spoke at a rally Feb 22 against proposed state cuts to NYC family support services to prevent children from entering foster care:

We are here standing together with one voice to tell the governor that cutting the budget will threaten so many families who really needs services.

I myself received preventive because I was in a domestic violence relationship. Preventive helped my family in getting the right support. They gave me … Read More

Rise Parent Leader Contributes to New York State Permanency Summit

ACS’s Deputy Commissioner of Family Permanency Services Julie Farber invited Rise Senior Parent Leader Jeanette Vega to participate in the 2017 New York State Permanency Summit on December 5 and 6 in Albany.  The Summit, sponsored by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, Casey Family Programs and the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, celebrated the work being done in counties across New York to achieve permanency for children and offered an opportunity for leaders around … Read More

Broke and Alone — It wasn’t love that made me open the door to my daughter’s unstable father

When I was 23 and my doctor told me I was pregnant, I put my head down and burst out crying.

A piece of me felt grateful that God chose me to bring life into the world. But I also felt angry, ashamed, selfish and scared. The father and I had only been dating a short while. Plus, I had a job but he didn’t, and neither of us was financially secure.

Still, when my boyfriend told me that … Read More

Nancy’s Story: Helping Parents Find Their Power

I never want another parent or child to feel like I did facing the child welfare system—alone and powerless.


I was 5 years old when I was removed from my mother. My mother was at times loving, but God rest her soul, suffered from schizophrenia.

After that, I was placed with my grandmother, but my grandmother was not a loving person—no hugs or kisses. I never really understood that.

When she gave us up, my sister and I went … Read More

Sharkkarah’s Story: Getting the Monster Out

To me, the child welfare system is like the monster in the dark in my kids’ room. I have done everything I’ve had to do to get that monster out.

When I became a mother, I wanted to end my family’s cycle of losing children to the foster care system.

My grandmother lost my father.

My mother and father lost me.

My sister lost her children.

My brother lost his child.

ACS came into my life because I was hitting my … Read More