Posts By: Sara Werner

Parental Designation: A Way of Planning for the Expected and Unexpected

Throughout our 2020 series, Fighting for Our Rights, Rise has highlighted information about parents’ legal rights and representation — both to prevent child welfare system involvement and to protect your family if ACS does become involved. 

Parental designation is a legal option in New York that allows a parent to designate someone you trust to temporarily take care of your child, while maintaining your parental rights and without ACS becoming involved.

Here, Jessica Prince, Policy Counsel … Read More

The Devil’s in the Details

What parents need to know about post-adoption contract

Almost three years ago, I signed a “conditional surrender,” giving up parental rights of my oldest child, who was eventually adopted. The agreement stated that I would continue to be able to visit my daughter. The adoptive parent broke the agreement and I have not seen my daughter in almost three years. Now I regret not fighting to keep my two children together.Here, Margaret Burt, an attorney … Read More

‘I Didn’t Think They Would Take Him Away’

It’s important for mothers who have previously been involved with child protective services to know about their rights and risks while they are pregnant so they can take steps to prevent their child from being taken at birth.

When I was pregnant with my son, I had a feeling I was going to run into some issues when the baby was born. I didn’t think they would take him away, but I knew I would have problems because my daughter was taken from me when she was about 2 and a half months old. I knew child protective services would look into any future child I might have.

Getting Creative: Support, routines and new tricks are helping my son and me during COVID-19

My son Aaron has a ton of energy, and if he doesn’t have a way to release it, we are both not happy. Since the weather is absolutely beautiful, we go out at least once a day. We try to go as much as possible to the track field for exercise.

We are also being creative with building magna tiles and doing art projects.

Luckily, Aaron and I have a support system in place. We have family and friends. We get a delivery of food every two days from a food program and our good friend is always having her husband drop off food for us. We are so lucky that we have these people to love and care about us so much.

Aaron’s teacher said it would be a good idea to end each day by rating our mood and discussing why we feel that way. We do this when he is getting ready for bed. He tells me if he had a good day or a bad day, rating it from 1-10. If he had a bad day, we try to see how we can fix it the next day.

NY State Legislature Passes New Open Adoption Bill to Protect Children’s Family Bonds

Legislators in New York State are considering passing a bill to ensure that children adopted from foster care can continue to have contact with their parents, even when rights are terminated, if it’s in the child’s best interest. Here, Rise’s Sara Werner, who lost her daughter to adoption but reunified with her son, interviews Amy Mulzer, a staff attorney for law and appeals in the Family Defense Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services: