Posts By: Erica Harrigan-Orr

From Existing to Living – I needed courage and support to face my childhood and reconnect with my kids.

When my daughters were 4 and 2 years old, I began to feel so numb to my children. I grew up in foster care and have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. At the time, I felt alienated not only from being a mother but being a person. I was lost in space, feeling nothing but emptiness. I didn’t feel human.

Far From Normal

When I tried to play with my children, I … Read More

A Family That Heals Together – Child-parent therapy can help parents and children recover from trauma.

All parents feel overwhelmed sometimes when their children do normal things, like have temper tantrums or act demanding. But for parents who have experienced trauma, those difficult moments can remind us of painful childhood experiences when we felt terrified or overwhelmed by someone who was out of control. When that happens, we can respond by getting too angry or by shutting down.

Susan Chinitz, the director of the Early Childhood Center at the Albert Einstein College … Read More

‘Can I Do This?’ – Support services helped me prepare for motherhood.

When I found out I was expecting, I didn’t feel like I was mentally ready to care for a baby. I had just aged out of foster care and was only beginning to learn how to handle life without the system.

I also have a mood disorder and I wasn’t taking my medication on a regular basis. I’d seen stories on the news about mentally ill mothers harming their children and I was afraid that I … Read More

Safe Parents, Safe Babies- A court reform effort that improves outcomes for babies focuses on parents.

When parents go to court, we feel scared and alone. A project to make sure that babies return to family as often as possible is trying to change that. I interviewed Lucy Hudson, director of ZERO to THREE’s Safe Babies Court Teams Project, which educates judges, lawyers and caseworkers about infant and toddler development and supports the parent and the court in working together.

My kids were removed as babies. Learning about … Read More

Trial and Error- New models in many states are improving representation for parents

When New York City’s Children’s Services (ACS) took my children three years ago, I was refusing to comply with mental healthtreatment and was getting into violent fights with my husband. I needed a lot of help. But I was assigned a lawyer who said he had never represented anyone in a child welfare case before.

My husband, on the other hand, was lucky enough to get a lawyer from Bronx Defenders, an … Read More

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