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About Rise

Founded in 2005, Rise combats pervasive negative stereotypes of child welfare-affected families. Rise trains parents to write about their experiences with the child welfare system in order to support parents and parent advocacy and guide child welfare practitioners and policymakers in becoming more responsive to the families and communities they serve.

We publish a print and online magazine reaching 15,000 parents and child welfare practitioners nationwide. We work with family support and child welfare agencies to use Rise stories in support groups, parent education classes and staff training. We partner with parent advocacy organizations to use parents' true stories in child welfare reform.

Click here to DONATE online through NY Charities.

Click here to read Rise's 2014 Annual Report

Click here to read Rise's 2010-2011 Annual Report

WATCH OUR VIDEO! "In Our Own Words"

Video by Steve Pilgrim
Rise writers Robin Wiley, Bevanjae Kelley and Piazadora Footman describe the impact of Rise magazine.

Rise magazine

Our tri-annual print magazine provides peer support directly to parents; agencies subscribe and hand out copies to parents. The magazine educates parents nationwide about their rights and demonstrates the steps parents can take to reunite with their children and strengthen their parenting. Fall 09 instead
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Our website offers free resources to parents and agency staff. We send new stories to our subscribers, bringing 1,500 readers to the website each month. Click here to receive free stories each month.
Rise advocacy

We encourage parent advocacy organizations to use our stories in their work. In 2009-10 we developed two major projects to support parent advocacy:

From Rights to Reality:
A plan for parent advocacy and family-centered child welfare reform

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Rise partnered with more than a dozen parent advocacy and support organizations and more than 50 parents in 12 states to develop From Rights to Reality, a publication designed to unite parents and parent advocacy around a common set of goals. It reflects a shared vision for parent leadership and child welfare reform nationwide.

Intentions and Results:
A look back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act

Rise developed a parent-written paper about the impact of the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) on families. The Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Urban Institute released the paper as part of collection of expert reflections on ASFA called Intentions and Results: A look back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act.

Rise writer Lynne Miller wrote the introduction to Rise’s paper – “You Have to Get It Together”: ASFA’s Impact on Parents and Families – spoke on a panel to release the paper alongside NYC Children’s Services Commissioner John Mattingly and Assistant Secretary of the federal Administration for Children and Families Carmen Nazario.


Rise workbooks

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Parents are more likely to succeed in solving problems in their families if they have the support and guidance of their peers. Rise stories provide credible models of the family strengthening and transformation that are possible when parents and children get the support they need.

Rise workbooks make it simple for social workers and parent advocates to run effective parent support groups on core topics in child welfare: bonding the children during visits, communicating with foster parents, preparing for reunification, and improving parenting and self-reflection skills. In the past two years, Rise has sold more than 1,400 workbooks to agencies in 23 states.


Rise parent groups

To learn more about how child welfare agencies are using Rise workbooks to engage and support parents, click here.

Rise-Children’s Aid Society Parent Engagement Pilot Project - Rise collaborated with staff at New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Children’s Aid Society and Columbia University School of Social Work to develop a project to improve how foster care agencies engage and support parents. Parents are typically expected to deal with strange and difficult new circumstances—visiting in agency visit rooms, connecting with foster parents, and preparing for reunification—with little support or guidance. Rise has trained staff and parent advocates at Children’s Aid Society to:

  • Distribute copies One Step at a Time, a Rise booklet that uses stories to educate parents about the child welfare process;
  • Integrate stories from Building a Bridge, our workbook on parent-foster parent relationships , into foster parents training;
  • Run three 6-week parent discussion groups using Rise workbooks. One group, based on the workbook A Time to Bond, is on making the most of visits; a second, based on Building a Bridge, is on improving communication with foster parents; a third, based on ‘It Won’t Happen Again,’ will prepare parents for the challenges of reunification.
Rise-ACS Agency Training Project for Foster Parent Training - Through ACS Family Permanency Services, Rise is training agencies to use Building a Bridge in foster parent or parent supports. Agencies that make a plan to use the stories receive free workbooks from ACS. St. Vincent’s Services in Brooklyn will begin its first group in March.

Rise-CWOP-Mt. Sinai Family Reunification Group - Staff of Rise, Child Welfare Organizing Project and Mt. Sinai Hospital worked together to adapt a proven program to support families with emotionally disturbed children so that it can be used effectively with families reunifying after foster care placement. Rise stories form the basis of a dozen parent-only sessions.

Rise workshops

To develop diverse stories on critical topics, such as immigration, incarceration, preventive services, addiction, domestic violence and parent advocacy, we continue to work closely with the Child Welfare Organizing Project and have collaborated with the following organizations:

Click here to read one parent's experience writing for Rise.

Rise reprints

We encourage organizations to use our stories in newsletters and policy reports. Rise stories have been reprinted in the American Bar Association's Child Law Practice, Michigan Law Review, NYC's Child Welfare Watch. Youth Today, Casey Family Services’ VOICES; Fostering Perspective, a newspaper for foster parents; Permanency Planning Today, a publication of the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning; Nurturing Times, a publication of Dads Helping Dads in Spokane, WA; and FOCUS, on therapeutic foster care. Click here to see selected reprints.

Rise impact

Read what parents, child welfare frontline workers and leadership, and advocates have to say about Rise.

Parent Writers: Our story development process teaches parents writing and critical thinking skills, helps writers organize traumatic experiences and connect with their strengths, provides peer-support, and reduces the shame and stigma of child welfare involvement.

Parent Readers: Rise stories provide parent readers with information about their rights and model the steps they can take strengthen their families. Through our print magazine and website, we reach 18,000 parents, child welfare practitioners and policymakers nationwide.

Child Welfare Practitioners: Rise stories build the empathy and ability of frontline child welfare staff to engage parents effectively. Family support programs, foster care agencies, drug treatment programs and legal services providers use our stories to train child welfare staff and foster parents and to educate and guide parents in support groups and parenting classes.

Child Welfare Policy: Rise stories inform policymakers about the impact of child welfare policies and practices on parents. We collaborate with advocacy organizations and researchers to add parent voice to policy reports, newsletters, conferences and campaigns to reform child welfare policies and practices.

Rise history

Rise developed through the dedication of parents who believed that their stories could encourage other parents to reunify with their children and force child welfare workers to confront the biases that so often undermine good case practice and policymaking.

Rise began as a collaboration between the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) and Youth Communication, publisher of Represent, a magazine by youth in foster care, where our stories were initially published as a Parents’ Perspectives column. In 2005, in order to inform and mobilize parents, we began publishing our tri-annual print magazine. Youth Communication became our fiscal sponsor in 2008.

Rise supporters

Rise supporters include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare Fund, Hedge Funds Care, the Hite Foundation, North Star Fund, NYC Children's Services, New Yorkers for Children, NYU Sunshine Fund, Steve and Lauren Pilgrim and Gary Pilgrim, and the Van Ameringen Foundation. Rise is fiscally sponsored by Youth Communication, publisher of Represent.

Rise leadership

Rise is led by an Advisory Board of parents and professionals; the magazine is overseen by an Editorial Board of dedicated parent writers. Rise has worked with more than 75 parents to produce stories, including a core staff of about a dozen writers.

Advisory Board

Mike Arsham, Child Welfare Organizing Project
Teresa Bachiller, Child Welfare Organizing Project
Melissa Baker, Casey Family Programs
Carmen Caban, Editorial Board
Tracey Carter, Rise Editorial Board
LynNeil Hancock, Columbia University School of Journalism
Keith Hefner, Youth Communication
Bevanjae Kelley, Rise Editorial Board
Lynne Miller, Rise Editorial Board
Jeanette Vega, Editorial Board
Robin Wiley, Editorial Board

Rise Staff

Director Nora McCarthy founded Rise in 2005. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Nora also edited Represent, by and for youth in foster care, and New Youth Connections, by and for New York City public high school students. She has reported for Newsday, City Limits and Child Welfare Watch.

Editor Rachel Blustain is a social worker and journalist who attended Brown University and the Hunter College School of Social Work. Rachel has written for the Forward, Child Welfare Watch and City Limits, and edited Represent and New Youth Connections.

Peer coaches

In 2010, Five Editorial Board members graduated from Rise’s first Editing 101 class, designed to prepare parent writers to work as peer writing coaches. The Editorial Board asked for the class. It turned out to be a wonderful experience, growing from 6 weeks to 18 weeks (so far). Participants learned core editing skills for developing personal narratives, such as structuring stories, building scenes, asking open-ended questions, and giving positive feedback. Graduates are helping to lead new writing groups for parents at the Child Welfare Organizing Project leadership curriculum.

Rise Contributing Writers:

Derrick Alexander
Sarah Allen
Louis Angel
Prince Ariais
Evaliz Andrades
Maria Santos Angulo
Jermaine Archer
Ruby Awtry
Teresa Bachiller
Latonya Baskerville
Patricia Bennett
Eric Benson
Bernadette Blount
Carlos Boyet
Carla Burks
Queenie Butler
Carmen Caban
Linfa Carrion
Dinah Clemmons-Gibson
Emma Cohetero
Guadalupe Cohetero
Nancy Colon
Lawanda Connelly
David Conyers
Jackie Crisp
Clarence Davis
Terreca DeFehr
Jose Disla
Sonia Diaz
Shatema Dockery
Deborah Echevarria
Bliss Edwards
Kevin Edwards
Sandra Evans
Ayinde Fair
Damaris Figueroa
Piazadora Footman
Yadira Fragoso
Alicia Gabriel
Giovanni Garcia
Daisy Gomez
Erica Harrigan
Diana Henriquez
Adam Hom
Toni Hoy
Pamela Hughes


Anthony Isaacs
Jacquelyn Israel
Sabra Jackson
Anna Jones
Ebonie King
Robin Larimore
Tanya Long
Caroline Marrero
Maribel Martinez
Evelyn Mateo
Jacquelyn Matthews-Smallwood
Deb McCabe
Elizabeth Mendoza
Herbert Morales
Desiree Navarro
Maya Noy
Daisy Nunez
Carmen Ortiz
Denise Outlaw
Rosita Pagan
Jorge Pardave
Margarita Pavon
Ilka Perez
Sylvia Perez
Tere Perez
Isabel R.
Francisco Ramirez
Chrystal Reddick
Violet Rittenhour
Juan Rodriguez
Wanda Rodriguez
Evelyn Salazar
Milagros Sanchez
Vanessa Sanchez
Albert Shepherd
Waldina Terreros
Mary Thunker
Philneia Timmons
Karen Tucker
Jeanette Vega
Ella Veres
Robin Wile
Na’im Williams
Christina Wonsey
Allison Young

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