Rise & Shine: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to apply for Rise & Shine?

A. Parents living in New York City who have been directly impacted by ACS are encouraged to apply to Rise & Shine. You may have been impacted as a parent by an investigation, preventive services, foster care, kinship care and/or termination of your parental rights. Please note that your case must be closed for your application to be considered for 2022.

Q. What are some of the core components of the Rise & Shine Program?

A. The Rise & Shine program includes a writing workshop series, a public speaking workshop series, community-building and reflection sessions, a mini-project and  knowledge-building workshops. It also includes 10 hours of interactive learning via “shadowing” and participation in advocacy and organizing opportunities outside of Rise & Shine program hours. 

During the writing workshop series, program participants engage in writing lessons and receive individual support and feedback. Through a structured process, they develop a publication-quality story on a topic of their choice related to the family policing system. The writing workshop also includes poetry writing, as well as reading and discussing Rise stories. Through the public speaking workshop series, program participants develop skills and strategies for engaging mindfully, using their voice and body, maintaining calm and focus and connecting with their audience, self and message. The workshops also address self care, boundaries and safety for writers and speakers. 

The knowledge-building training series addresses a variety of topics including community organizing, the policy-making process and political advocacy, the history of child welfare, systemic oppression, moving from trauma to power, parents’ legal rights and abolition. See 2021 knowledge-building workshop topics and presenters.

Q. What is the purpose of the program? What will it prepare me to do?

A. The Rise & Shine Program will support you with developing and strengthening your skills, knowledge and networks to become a leader in your community. We support you with setting your own goals and encourage you to make your own choices about what that can look like and the role that is a fit for you. 

After graduation, this might mean pursuing opportunities within your community, with another group or organization, or with Rise. At Rise, Rise & Shine graduates have stayed involved through writing, community organizing, providing peer support, facilitating training and engaging in political advocacy. 

Parents who successfully complete Rise & Shine meet program requirements including writing a publication-quality story, developing public speaking skills, completing a small project, engaging in interactive learning hours and participating in training on a variety of topics. Parents are provided with support throughout the program to meet all program requirements. Upon program completion, graduates receive a certificate and stipend.

Rise & Shine is not a job training or placement program. Rise & Shine does not recruit, train or place Parent Advocates.

Q. I am already a leader in my community. Should I apply and what can I get out of the program? 

A. Many parents who participate in Rise & Shine are already leaders in their community in some way. Through the program, you can deepen your knowledge base related to the family policing system and community-led solutions; strengthen your writing and public speaking skills; engage in preparation that can support you with strategically sharing your story; build your network and connect with peers. Everyone who participates in the program contributes to providing peer support and sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise in community as we learn and grow together.

Rise & Shine offers space and support for reflecting on your experience with ACS. Some parents find that provides an opportunity for healing, connecting, speaking truth to power and reclaiming their story and power. 

Q. How long is the program?

A. The 18-week program will run from February through June 2022. Graduation will take place in June 2022.

Q. Will the 2022 program take place in person or online?

A. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have not yet determined whether the 2022 Rise & Shine program will be offered in person, online or as a hybrid program (partly in person and partly online). We will consider the most current information and context in making a decision and will provide an update about the program location in the coming months.

Although Rise & Shine was designed to be an in-person program, since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the program has operated online. If the program is online, Rise will provide laptops as needed.

Q. What is the application process?

A. We encourage parents who are interested in applying to Rise & Shine to attend a virtual open house information session to learn more about the process.

To apply, complete and submit the online application (which will be available soon on our website).

You will then be invited to an interview so that you and the Rise & Shine staff can get to know each other more, and we can learn about your interest in the program. This will also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions.

In January 2022, Rise will notify all applicants about whether they have been accepted into the program. 

Q. Is child care provided to Rise & Shine participants?

A. Child care is not provided during Rise & Shine.

Q. If I’m not accepted into the program this year or it isn’t a fit for me at this time, what other opportunities are available to me at Rise?

A. We hope you will join us and be involved at Rise as part of the Rise community! All NYC parents directly impacted by ACS are welcome and encouraged to attend monthly membership meetings and our support group circles

To stay updated about opportunities at Rise as they become available: 

You can also apply for the Rise & Shine program again next year.

Q. Can this program help me with getting my children back or navigating an open case?

A. Unfortunately, Rise is not able to assist parents with navigating your individual case. We encourage you to reach out to the parent defense organizations for legal representation and information and support with navigating your case. Additionally, we invite you to attend our weekly Rise support circle to connect with other impacted parents.

You can also access information and resources related to your legal rights and handling an investigation on the Rise website and visit the Your Family, Your Rights site by Brooklyn Defender Services for parents/caretakers who are being investigated by ACS. 

Q. How is Rise & Shine funded?

A. The Rise & Shine Parent Leadership Program is funded primarily through donations made as part of our annual fundraiser celebration.

More broadly, Rise is funded through grants from a variety of foundations that support our work. We also have contracts, including a contract with ACS to provide information and training to parent advocates who support parents in reunifying more quickly and/or closing their cases. 

>> Further details about the program requirements and stipend will be provided during the interview process.