Trying Again – This time, I have the support to face my feelings
I first smoked crack on a cold winter day when I was 19. At the time I was feeling desperate. I’d heard that crack would make me feel no pain, and it did. What pulled me in was... Read More
Fight and Flight – Will my family ever be safe from child welfare’s reach?
I became pregnant at 18. I was living in Champaign, Illinois, under state custody. I was a runaway from a transitional living placement and had met the man of my dreams.
We were in love and... Read More
A Responsibility to Support – Improving how child welfare systems respond to mothers who grew up in their care.
When you grow up in foster care and have a child, your greatest hope is that you’ll get to be your child’s Mommy. Your greatest fear is that you’ll fail, and your child will feel the same pain you... Read More
Everything Felt Like Nothing – I ran from my feelings and I didn’t know how to stop.
When you spend too much time as a kid in survival mode—feeling like you have no one to rely on and blocking out the pain whatever ways you can—sometimes you don’t realize in time that you have to change.
Alone... Read More
‘When Someone Takes Care of Us, It’s Easier For Us to Take Care of Our Children’ – Recommendations from young mothers who grew up in foster care.
Since 2012, Rise has worked with or interviewed more than 40 mothers who grew up in foster care. Here, five New York City mothers share their perspectives on how child welfare can better partner with parents who grew up... Read More
Support Without Judgment – I didn’t want to get services from a system set up to judge me.
This past summer, another young mother in my foster home got child protective services called on her. That got me watched, too.
The first time it happened, it was 10 p.m. I was in bed asleep... Read More
Reducing the Risk – Mothers in foster care need to know what’s in their case file and address risks.
Many of us who grew up in foster care feel like the child welfare system is just waiting for us to mess up, and according to the American Bar Association’s Center for Children and the Law, 77% of lawyers... Read More
From Enemy to Ally – Because my caseworker accepted me, I was able to believe in myself.
From ages 8 through 18, I was a foster child. I was in so many homes that I can’t remember them all. Some of my foster parents abused their authority. I didn’t know if my real parents loved me.... Read More
‘I Made a Mistake’ Not ‘I Am a Mistake’ – How parents—and the child welfare system—can stand up to shame.
Ambrosia Eberhardt, Danielle Goodwin and Heather Cantamessa are “Veteran Parents” with the Washington State Parent Advocate Network, a project of The Children’s Home Society. Here, they explain the importance of addressing shame in child welfare:
Q: Parent advocates and child... Read More
‘I Can See His Happiness Just By Watching Him’ – My foster parents showed my son and me how to feel safe
I am 19 years old, married with two sons. I am surrounded by love and family. However it was not always like this for me.
I am a foster care alumni. I first went into care at 3 and exited... Read More
Mothering the Mother – How foster parents and staff can strengthen mother-child bonds.
The Ackerman Institute’s Center for the Developing Child and Family in New York has partnered with New York City Children’s Services to train foster parents and staff at mother-child residences, and is beginning trainings in Washington D.C. Here, Martha... Read More
Acknowledged – It helped me heal when child welfare officials said, ‘I’m sorry.’
When my oldest daughter was taken into foster care, I had to confess. I had to speak to people who thought the worst of me. I had to take responsibility for my actions even though I didn’t understand what... Read More