Posts By: Jeanette Vega

Time, Patience and Love – Despite fear, parents can get out of the system’s shadow

Jeanette delivered this speech at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services Reunification Month event “Better Together: A Celebration of Families” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on June 25, 2016, and the New Jersey Legal Services’ Family Reunification Day event on June 30: 

Telling people my story was never my thing. Talking about myself, my life, was not something I wanted to do. But when I became a parent leader in child welfare, I decided to … Read More

Fixing the Front Line – A new approach to hiring and supporting caseworkers

Nine out of 10 foster care agencies nationwide say it’s tough to find and keep caseworkers that are qualified, and a recent study in New York City, 4 out of every 10 caseworkers left the job in the first year they were hired. 

If you’re a parent who hasn’t had a good relationship with a caseworker, you may say, “Who cares if caseworkers stay or go?” But having many different caseworkers, or having an inexperienced caseworker, … Read More

Healing the Hate and Hurt – How I learned to control my anger so my son could come home

Feeling powerless can make you feel angry. Angry is how I felt the whole three years my son was in foster care—and how I acted.

Finally, a worker took me aside and was straight with me. She told me that the way I was acting made the agency think I was the kind of person who would solve any problem with violence, and that made them think that it was not safe for me to have … Read More

‘My Goal Is to Return Power to Parents’ – A new series of stories by frontline staff about working with parents in child welfare

Caseworkers play such an important role in whether parents succeed in getting their children home from foster care.

When my son was in foster care, I had 5 or 6 caseworkers over the course of three years. Most of my caseworkers seemed like they were too busy to give me 5 minutes of their time, or were so scared of my anger that they avoided me. I used to feel so frustrated, thinking: “You never have … Read More

‘Keep a Sharp Eye Out for People Like Me’: Speech to child welfare investigators and attorneys

When I was 19, and my son was 2, I lost my son to the child welfare system for three years because I hit him with a belt.

I was raised that if you get out of line, you get hit. Mom and Grandma would hit us with a belt or throw slippers at us, the old school Puerto Rican way. When I moved to Philly, Step-dad was worse. He was the throw-you-down-the-stairs, you-gonna-respect-my-rules, don’t play … Read More