Rise works with parents affected by the child welfare system, whether through an investigation, “preventive” family support services to keep children safe at home, or placement of children in foster care. Since 2005, we have worked with nearly 200 parents. Learn more about our contributors here. Most contributors join Rise through writing groups at partner organizations that already work with parents. Parents outside of NYC can write by email. We strive to work with – and keep working with – all parents who reach out to tell their stories. However, our capacity is limited. Contact Editorial Director Rachel Blustain to learn about writing for Rise.
Rise is a partner project of the Fund for the City of New York. Foundation support is provided by Child Welfare Fund, North Star Fund, New York Women’s Foundation and Pinkerton Foundation. Rise’s major contracts are with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Graham Windham, JCCA, NYC Children’s Services and Sheltering Arms. We also are grateful to our subscribers and generous individual donors.
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Nora McCarthy, Director
Nora began working with parents affected by the child welfare system in 2003 and founded Rise in 2005. She previously edited the youth publications New Youth Connections and Represent, a magazine by teens in foster care, both published by Youth Communication. Under Nora’s co-leadership, Represent earned top awards from the Association of Educational Publishers and Mental Health America. Nora has written for Newsday, Child Welfare Watch and City Limits and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Blustain, Editorial Director
Rachel Blustain writes for the Daily Beast and City Limits and is a graduate of Brown University and Hunter College School of Social Work. She previously edited New Youth Connections and Represent and worked as a dropout prevention counselor in the city schools. Under Rachel’s co-leadership, Represent won the Coming Up Taller Award for outstanding arts and humanities programs for youth. Rachel’s City Limits series on child protective investigations was nominated for a Deadline Club award for public service. email@example.com
Jeanette Vega, Parent Leader
Jeanette has contributed to Rise since 2008 and became a Parent Leader in 2016. Jeanette specializes in presenting to child welfare professionals about her experience and about parents' perspectives. Jeanette graduated from the Child Welfare Organizing Project's Parent Leadership Training in 2005 and was one of the first parent advocates to staff Child Safety Conferences in New York City. Jeanette worked as a Parent Advocate at Episcopal Social Services for three years and is also certified as a visiting coach/ host. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jade de Saussure, Public Speaking Director
Jade de Saussure, OMC, MSW has worked in the social work field for the past 10 years. Using her skills and education as a former actress, a spiritual counselor, a social worker, and social work administrator, Jade has delivered services to various social work populations. Jade is currently completing her PhD in Social Work while embarking on projects such as researching and co-authoring a book on the development of women's spirituality; developing a spiritually-grounded trauma curriculum founded on the needs of incarcerated people; and co/founding the organization Neighborhood International. email@example.com
Dominique Arrington, Senior Contributor
Dominique joined Rise in 2015 through a writing workshop at the Center for Family Representation and joined Rise's Leadership Team, Advanced Writing Group and Public Speaking Skills Training Workshop. Dominique is a frequent reporter and leads Rise's Young Parents Project for young parents who themselves grew up in foster care.
Nancy Fortunato, Senior Contributor
Nancy is a Parent Advocate at JCCA and graduate of the Child Welfare Organizing Project who joined Rise's Leadership Team in 2015. Nancy completed Rise's Public Speaking Skills Training and Advanced Public Speaking workshops, as well as our Advanced Writing Workshop and Reporting Group.
Sara Werner, Senior Contributor
Sara joined Rise in 2014 through a writing workshop at the Albert Einstein Infant-Parent Court Project. She reunified with her son in 2015. Sara completed Rise's Advanced Writing Group as well as our Public Speaking Skill Training and Advanced Public Speaking Program and is a member of our Leadership Team.
Robbyne Wiley, Senior Contributor
Robbyne joined a Rise writing workshop in 2002, before the organization formally began, and has been a member of the Rise Advisory Board since it started in 2007. Robbyne is a graduate of the Child Welfare Organizing Project Parent Leadership Curriculum and has been a parent advocate at Child Safety Conferences. Robbyne is a member of Rise's Leadership Team and completed Rise's Advanced Writing Group and Public Speaking Skills Training and Advanced Public Speaking Program.
Elizabeth Koster, Writing Assistant
Native to New York City, Elizabeth Koster started teaching through the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and has taught English, ESL, and creative writing for the past twelve years—in public high schools, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations. She writes personal essays and memoir and is completing an MFA in creative nonfiction at Columbia University.
Teresa Bachiller, Parent Coach, Graham Windham
Melissa Baker, Senior Director of Strategic Consulting, Casey Family Programs
Rebecca Boucher, Staff Attorney, Center for Family Representation
Dana Guyet, Director of Prevention, Department of Homeless Services
Keith Hefner, Executive Director, Youth Communication
Bevanjae Kelley, Parent Coach, Graham Windham
Bonnie Kornberg, Chief Performance Officer and Associate Vice President, Graham Windham
Lindsey McCormack, Senior Grants Officer, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
Robbyne Wiley, Rise Contributor
Rise contracts with organizations to run writing groups; provide meaningful parent input on child welfare practice and policy; bring parents’ stories into parent education and peer support; and bring parents’ perspectives to child welfare forums, panels and staff training.
Current partners include the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Council on Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), Graham Windham, JCCA, National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s committee on parent trauma in child welfare, NYC Administration for Children’s Services and Sheltering Arms.
In New York, Rise has run parent writing groups at Graham Windham, the Center for Family Representation, Albert Einstein Infant-Parent Court Project, Brooklyn Family Defense Project, the Child Welfare Organizing Project, Voice of Women Organizing Project, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Sing Sing Correctional Facility through the Osborne Association, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and Visiting Nurse Service of New York Bronx Fathers Program. Rise also ran a writing group for foster care staff at Sheltering Arms.
Nationally, Rise ran a writing group at Fresno County Department of Social Services. Parent contributors have come to Rise through the Birth Parent National Network, Chicago Family Defense Center, Detroit Center for Family Advocacy and Catalyst for Kids/Washington State Parent Advocacy Network.