About Rise

Founded in 2005 and led by parents impacted by the child welfare system, Rise believes that parents have the answers for their families and communities. Our mission is to support parents’ leadership to dismantle the current child welfare system, eliminate cycles of harm, surveillance and punishment and create communities that invest in families and offer collective care, healing and support.

We envision communities that are free from injustice, family regulation and separation, and a society that is cultivating new ways of preventing and addressing harm. We imagine a radical commitment to ensuring that all families have what they need to live beyond survival and truly thrive.

We create safe spaces where impacted parents can reflect on their lives, connect with peers, learn about child welfare’s history and policies, strengthen their writing, public speaking and advocacy skills, and mobilize their communities for justice.

Rise focuses on two goals:

1) To prevent unnecessary system involvement.

2) To reform child welfare policy and practice so that families who come to the attention of the child welfare system are less likely to be separated and more likely to reunify if children are removed.

Here’s how we work toward our two goals:

  • To build powerful parent leaders, Rise trains parents in writing, public speaking and leadership skills.
  • To assist parents in crisis, Rise provides information and peer support through our magazine.
  • To reform child welfare policy and practice, Rise uses legislative and administrative advocacy and provides technical assistance to develop structures that support parents’ self-determination during system involvement.
  • To strengthen the capacity of communities to collectively support families, Rise partners with community organizing and justice organizations to mobilize parents and advocate for investment in NYC families.

Learn more about our vision and how you can get involved. 

Parent Support Resources

Supporting Families of Color: How Racial and Complex Trauma Affect Parents of Color Navigating Family Court During the Time of COVID and Beyond — A Report by Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R, Ph.D.

This report by Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R, Ph.D. is intended to provide family court officers and child welfare professionals who engage with child welfare involved (CWI) parents, introductory knowledge on the trauma-informed approach. Readers will be introduced to the importance of using the trauma-informed approach in their work with CWI parents, with a focus on the impact that language has on the way in which CWI parents are depicted and responded to in the courtroom. Definitions of key terms are provided first, followed by an overview of the trauma-informed approach and its application to working with CWI parents. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report has been updated to include recommendations for trauma-informed practices that best support families during a period of collective/shared trauma. Then the section titled, “What parents want you to know”, provides direct input from parents on their experiences, needs and perspectives. Finally, a composite vignette which compares traditional language to trauma-informed language is presented.

Parent Presentations

Ask Yourself: ‘Am I More Focused on Compliance Than Safety?’ – Parents encourage attorneys who represent the child welfare system to focus on justice and humanity in the courtroom

This spring, Rise parent leaders presented to all 250 Administration for Children’s Services attorneys who represent the child welfare system in family court. (The division is called Family Court Legal Services, or FCLS.) Rise parent leaders routinely present to newly-hired FCLS attorneys. Here is their presentation: 

Rise trains parents to write and speak about their experiences with the child welfare system. The insights you’ll hear today are based on the personal essays Rise has developed with … Read More

Parent Presentations

‘I Felt Terrified—and Shocked’ – How to approach parents in child protective investigations

In 2018, Rise parent leaders were asked to provide input to the Administration for Children’s Services on training for child protective investigators. Our team worked with 20 life experienced parents to develop feedback, including parent advocates working at foster care and legal agencies and parents with recent foster care cases. Jeanette Vega, Nancy Fortunato and Robbyne Wiley developed the presentation. Here is their presentation: 

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to present parents’ perspectives … Read More