Together Again: Reunification
When children come home from foster care, parents and kids have to get to know each other once more. Parents who’ve been to rehab, therapy or parenting classes have changed, and their kids have had experiences in care that their parents don’t know about or understand. On top of that, it can be difficult to deal with the anger, guilt and anxiety you all feel, and to show each other the love and happiness you have inside.
In this issue, parents about what helped their families become whole again.
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- Read More In honor of National Reunification Month, Lindsay Reilly, a parent impacted by the family policing system, discusses her experiences with peer support both during her ACS case and since she reunified with her two youngest children last year. She...
- Read More In honor of National Reunification Month, Jeanette Vega, assistant director at Rise, discusses how Rise supports reunification of families separated by the foster system, explains how this work connects to our goal of abolition and highlights Rise resources by...
- Read More Happy Reunification Month to all the families who have reunified! You did it! Congratulations! This 2020 Reunification Month video was developed collaboratively by the ACS Workforce Institute, NYC Parent Advocates Council and Rise leaders. It is for child welfare-impacted parents,...
- Read More This June, we are celebrating Reunification Month against the backdrop of COVID-19. Many in-person visits have been suspended, services have shuttered and courts remain closed, creating additional barriers to reunification. It always requires extraordinary stamina, resilience and hope for...
- Read More My children came home a week before Easter, but when they walked in it was Easter for them. I had new toys, clothing and an Easter basket waiting for them. Even though they knew that I loved them, I...
- Read More As part of our Fighting for Our Rights series and in recognition of National Reunification Month, Rise is exploring how parent legal representation can support reunification. Here, Rise talks with Marty Guggenheim, professor of clinical law at NYU Law...
I met my caseworker Gloria when I went to rehab after I got the case. The first time we met, she explained how she could help me get my kids back if I put forth the effort. It was... Read More
I will never forget the day I returned home from an appointment and saw a note on my door saying that my children had been removed from home. I thought, “Did they take all of my kids?”
When I opened... Read More
Parents who feel powerless during the service planning process often accept services, schedules and other demands placed on them by the child welfare system that they can’t do or don’t believe will be helpful because they aren’t informed or are... Read More
Earlier this year, I sat down with a mother, her case planner and her CPS investigator. I was the supervisor on the case. The CPS worker began by stating that the mother was suffering from paranoia and because of that,... Read More
I was angry at the world when CPS took my daughters Melanie, 8 months, and Amaya, 1 week old. I’d always wanted to avoid my kids going into foster care because my brother and I were raised in care.
But it was... Read More
When my oldest daughter went into foster care five years ago, I was 20 and struggling. I’d signed myself out of foster care two years earlier and had been bouncing between youth shelters and my mom’s place.
I went into... Read More
For parents trying to reunify with their children, completing the service plan within the 15 months allowed by federal law can feel like an uphill battle, filled with demands, court dates, conferences and impossible expectations.
For parents struggling with trauma,... Read More
After spending four years in foster care, my 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were trial discharged to me in time for Christmas 2015.
The family shelter I was in with my 9-month-old baby wasn’t our idea of home, but my kids... Read More
Last year I reunified with my son, Aaron, who spent his first two years in foster care. Aaron is now 4 years old with curly brown hair, brown eyes and a smile that makes... Read More
June’s National Reunification Month celebrates the perseverance of parents reunifying with children from foster care — and the professionals who support them.
Below are interviews with four parents who recently reunified with their children or are on their way. They... Read More
As a parent advocate, I used to advise parents in my support group about the reality of what they would face once their children returned home from foster care. I’d tell them that kids often act out, or don’t... Read More
I froze. My head was pounding and I felt like that should have been my last day working in child welfare. I just wanted to go home and lock myself in my room.
I was in Bronx Family Court, being... Read More
Five days before Christmas 2015, my two kids came home from foster care on trial discharge.
I was so ready for them to come back to me.
It was the first Christmas we’d spent together in two years, so it was... Read More
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... Read More
When I was 14 my father broke the worst news to me and my siblings. He told us he had one year to live.
Almost immediately after he told us, he placed my sister and me in foster care, where... Read More
When my son Isaiah was born on January 3, 2007, I was unsure whether I was his father. Then I laid his small body against my chest with my head bowed down to his and felt an unmistakable bond.... Read More
This is not about what’s easy to write. This is about what people need to know. This is a pain and suffering that never goes away. I really miss my little girl every single day. When I last saw... Read More
In 2013, I placed my oldest daughter in foster care because I didn’t know how to help her. She was 6 when she started to say that she hated me and her siblings and didn’t want to live with... Read More
What I miss the most about my daughters, 6 and 7, is giving them a bath, drying them, watching them dance with their towels, lotioning them, and massaging their backs while they sing how good it feels. As they... Read More
Last year I reunified with my son, Aaron, who spent his first two years in foster care. Aaron is now 4 years old with curly brown hair, brown eyes and a smile that makes everyone want to smile too.
Aaron’s... Read More
Jeanette delivered this speech at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services Reunification Month event “Better Together: A Celebration of Families” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on June 25, 2016, and the New Jersey Legal Services’ Family Reunification Day... Read More
Feeling powerless can make you feel angry. Angry is how I felt the whole three years my son was in foster care—and how I acted.
Finally, a worker took me aside and was straight with me. She told me that... Read More
Before my son came home from foster care, I lived in supportive housing for almost a year. My program helped me with practical things, like learning the NYC buses and trains. But the main thing they helped me... Read More
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
My kids were taken into custody in 2007. I was using meth and selling also.
I never, ever wanted to hurt my kids. I thought I loved them with all my heart.
At the time,... Read More
Read the English translation.
Cuando mi hija Lydia tuvo 5 años, me hizo pasar momentos difíciles. Ella no quería lavarse los dientes o el pelo. No quería recoger sus juguetes. Tenía que gritarle por cosas pequeñas o decirle “¡Vete para tu... Read More
Translated from Spanish.
When my daughter, Lydia, 5, came home after two and a half years in foster care, it was so different from having her home only on the weekends. The best part was that we didn’t... Read More
On December 8, 2000, my 15-year-old son was discharged into my custody after spending a long time in a residential treatment center. I thought everything would be good. I had wanted him to come home for so long. But... Read More
Adrienne Williams-Myers, program director of Project Safe at the Northside Center for Child Development, explains how therapy can support reunifying families:Q: How can therapy help families reconnect?
A: When parents and kids are involved in the system, their... Read MoreHELPING HAND
My son Louie has been a good kid ever since he was small. He rarely complained about anything. He was one of those toddlers that clings to the mother. Wherever I went he was there. Summers when I was... Read More
Three years ago, my son was removed from my home because he had serious behavioral problems and I had become too sick and exhausted to care for him.
I raised my son on my own until he... Read More