Posts By: Jeanette Vega

Alone in the System – Would my son have come home sooner if someone had taken the time to know me?

I was 19 when I was arrested for hitting my 2-year-old son with a belt.

What I did wasn’t right and it wasn’t how I usually treated my son. Usually I loved him to death and spoiled him rotten. I had never hit him before. But that night my son got out of his crib and ran out of the apartment while I was taking a shower.

I felt so shocked and scared that I … Read More

‘I Could Feel My Heart Not Hurt As Much’

I am a mother who was arrested for child abuse.

I am now 35 years old and I have learned so much along the way. But at 19, 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 … Read More

Order of Protection – Free legal services before removal can keep poor children safe at home.

As a parent advocate working in the child welfare system, I have seen cases where a little assistance in fixing housing repairs or helping a mother take out an order of protection could’ve kept a child safe. The problem is that poor parents can’t afford lawyers. That contributes to children of color coming into foster care, since they’re more likely to be living in poverty. Now, programs in Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Michigan are providing … Read More

‘Your Actions Are Setting You Back’ – Losing my temper in visits hurt my case.

Jeanette with her oldest son, Remi, and Xavier and Zachary.

In 1999, my 2-year-old son Remi was removed because I hit him and my family called child welfare on me. I was only 17 years old when Remi was born. Remi was an all-over-the-place, running around, never-sitting-still type of kid. It was partially my fault. I spoiled him rotten. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do—spoil him and love him to death.

I … Read More

Community Representatives Help Parents Find Solutions

For the past year, I’ve been helping parents who are at risk of losing their children to foster care. My role is to attend Child SafetyConferences, meetings held by child protective services in New York City to decide whether a child should go into foster care or if there is a safe way to keep the child at home.

The conferences are held 24 hours after a case is called in. Parents … Read More