Posts By: Rise

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You have a right to make decisions about your child’s mental health treatment in foster care.

If your child is in foster care, you still have the right to be involved in his or her mental health treatment. Bronx Defenders lawyer Keren Farkas and social work supervisor Ariane Eigler explain how to advocate for yourself and your child.

Q: When children are in foster care, what rights do parents have to make decisions about their child’s … Read More

Clearing Your Name After an Investigation: How to Seal and Amend Your Record

States track records of parents who have been investigated by child protective services and accused of neglecting or abusing their children. A parent can be “indicated” for maltreatment even if they have never been charged with a crime or faced a judge. Nationwide, millions of parents – disproportionately Black and Latinx parents – experience employment barriers due to a child abuse registry record, even when there is no child safety concern.

Here, Washcarina Martinez Alonzo and Jeanette Vega explain how these records impact hundreds of thousands of Black and brown parents—and how you can get your record sealed and amended so it is not a barrier to employment.

Rise Staff Learn to Deepen Our Restorative Justice Practice

Rise staff recently participated in a Restorative Justice and Circle Keeper training led by Ashley Ellis, Co-founder and Lead Trainer of the B.R.E.A.T.H.E Collective. The 3-day Introduction to Restorative Justice and Circle Keeping prepared Rise’s Participatory Action Research (PAR) team to facilitate peacemaking circles with other impacted parents in their community. Parents learned the fundamental elements of circles including ritual, storytelling, creating safe space, establishing shared values, building relationships and trust and consensus decision-making. The training focused on the … Read More

The Problems with “The Tool We Have”

Throughout our 2019 series Surveillance Isn’t Safety, Rise described how over-reporting, investigations and monitoring by child protective services (CPS) harm families and weaken communities impacted by systemic racism and under-investment. Struggling families face investigations by punitive child welfare agencies with the power to take their children — but not the ability to address societal inequities at the root of so many family challenges.

Here, Kelley Fong explains her research finding that often professionals make reports to CPS to “rehabilitate” families. In most cases, the children are not in danger, but mandated reporters turn to CPS to provide resources or to pressure families to behave in ways they feel are appropriate. She also discusses research about better ways to support families without coercion and threat.

Healing-Centered Schools: A community-led approach to creating safe and healing school environments

Rise has been exploring abolition and how community-led approaches can support safe, thriving families and communities, free from child welfare involvement. Rise has also reported that when families need support, schools frequently report parents’ to the state child abuse and neglect hotline, and the harm this causes to families. Nationally, 90% of school-based calls are later deemed “unsubstantiated.”

The Bronx Healing-Centered Schools Working Group has developed a community-led model and process to shift the culture of schools in the Bronx to focus on healing. The working group collaboratively created a Community Roadmap to Bring Healing-Centered Schools to the Bronx.

Here, three members of the working group, Rasheedah Harris, Katrina Feldkamp and Nelson Mar, discuss the vision for healing-centered schools and how this approach will benefit families and keep students safe — without overreporting to CPS or policing in schools. Rasheedah Harris is a Parent Leader and leads the working group’s outreach efforts. Katrina Feldkamp is a Staff Attorney at Bronx Legal Services. Nelson Mar is Senior Staff Attorney at Bronx Legal Services.