Posts Tagged: Caseworkers

Stories by Frontline Staff

Caseworkers play such an important role in whether parents succeed in getting their children home from foster care. To build parents’ understanding of caseworkers and workers’ understanding of parents, Rise ran two writing groups for frontline staff at the NYC agency Sheltering Arms. These stories show the challenges caseworkers face, as well as ways they’ve overcome those challenges.


Transparency and Trust – As a caseplanner, I know I have power over parents’ lives – … Read More

Advice from a Parent Advocate: Making your voice heard in case planning

Interview with Sherry Tomlinson, a parent leader in Columbus, Kansas

For more than 15 years, Sherry Tomlinson worked in the child welfare system. Then she lost her son to it. Today, she runs a recovery and jail ministry in Columbus, Kansas; works alongside an attorney representing parents in family court; and is an active member of the Birth Parent National Network, a national coalition of parents affected by the child welfare system.

As a parent helping … Read More

Partners in Planning – When parents are supported to participate in planning, we can make better decisions

This story is part of Rise’s series by frontline staff at foster care agencies about their experiences working with parents. 

Recently, I facilitated a Family Team Meeting with a mother who was going through tremendous stress. (To protect her privacy, I’ll just call her “Mom.”) Her partner had recently died and she’d been diagnosed with a serious illness. She also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Up until the series of crises in her life, she’d worked, had an … Read More

Transparency and Trust – As a case planner, I know I have power over parents’ lives—and I try to share it.

When a foster care agency first receives a case, the agency is required to make contact with the family within 72 hours. During the first contacts, case planners are expected to establish a positive connection with parents. But making that connection can be a challenge when case planners also represent the system that has taken parents’ children.

When I first meet with a parent, they are often at the lowest point in their lives. Most were … Read More

Meeting Parents Where They Are – Accepting my own feelings helped me accept the parents I work with

Five years ago, I was “green” in the field of child welfare. I was three weeks out of college with a BA in psychology. I was motivated to do the job of case planner because I’d always wanted to work with children. I knew there would be some interaction with parents but I didn’t think it would be too much.

The first time I met parents was probably my second day on the job. I’d heard … Read More