Posts By: Jeanette Vega

Applying a Toxic Stress Lens to Frontline Practice with Parents

Rise Parent leader Jeanette Vega spoke to child welfare leadership at the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies’ (COFCCA) annual meeting about toxic stress and frontline practice with parents. Here’s the full transcript: 

In the fall when I read Steve Cohen’s paper I was shocked and amazed to think that there was a name— toxic stress— for what I was going through when my son went into foster care.

Life Before My Case

Before my son entered foster care, I … Read More

‘Like Falling Down a Rabbit Hole’ – New film Custody explores the world of family court

This Saturday, the film Custody by director James Lapine will air on Lifetime at 8pm EST. Starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere and Catalina Sandino Moreno, the film explores the professional conflicts and personal dramas of a mother, a lawyer, a caseworker and a judge as a case of suspected abuse makes its way through the family court system.

In the background is the recent death of another child known to the system. The aftershocks of that … Read More

Act Now, Pay Later – When my son entered foster care, I couldn’t think, plan, or stay calm

Before my son entered foster care, I was working full time and going to school full time. I was known for multi-tasking. I never kept a calendar but I could make all appointments and never be late. I was on it. But once child welfare got involved in my life, things went sideways real fast.

After I lost my son, it was like I lost control over my body and mind. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t … Read More

Strengthening the System through Parent Voice – The more child welfare can support parents using their voices during their case, the better equipped they’ll be to solve problems down the road

This is a speech Jeanette gave at the Schuyler Center as part of a panel on innovations in child welfare reform.

Today I will talk to you about what’s needed in child welfare reform from a parent’s perspective. That is voice—parents having a powerful voice in their cases and in the system.

You might be thinking, why does a parent need a voice?

I’m sure you hear us all the time screaming, fighting and arguing at the agencies. … Read More

Investigations Can Make Children Less Safe – When poor parents feel like we have to hide our struggles, children suffer

I have a friend who recently gave birth and struggles with simple things, like having enough money for Pampers or WIC lasting the month. Because I have worked as a parent advocate, I know about resources for low-income families. I told her about a program that offers Pampers monthly for free, but she denied the help. She said they might call child protective services on her.

I said, “They won’t. They just assist with Pampers.” But … Read More