Advocacy

Parent-led advocacy and parent input in child welfare reform is essential to better addressing the root causes of family crises; meeting the service needs of high-risk families; reducing disproportionate placements and disparate treatment of families of color; changing the adversarial relationship between child welfare systems and poor communities; improving court practices; and ensuring that foster care placement is used as sparingly as possible so that children are more likely to grow up safe with their families.

Strengthening the System through Parent Voice – The more child welfare can support parents using their voices during their case, the better equipped they’ll be to solve problems down the road

This is a speech Jeanette gave at the Schuyler Center as part of a panel on innovations in child welfare reform.

Today I will talk to you about what’s needed in child welfare reform from a parent’s perspective. That is voice—parents having a powerful voice in their cases and in the system.

You might be thinking, why does a parent need a voice?

I’m sure you hear us all the time screaming, fighting and arguing at the agencies. … Read More

Time, Patience and Love – Despite fear, parents can get out of the system’s shadow

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 event on June 30: 

Telling people my story was never my thing. Talking about myself, my life, was not something I wanted to do. But when I became a parent leader in child welfare, I decided to … Read More

‘Keep a Sharp Eye Out for People Like Me’: Speech to child welfare investigators and attorneys

When I was 19, and my son was 2, I lost my son to the child welfare system for three years because I hit him with a belt.

I was raised that if you get out of line, you get hit. Mom and Grandma would hit us with a belt or throw slippers at us, the old school Puerto Rican way. When I moved to Philly, Step-dad was worse. He was the throw-you-down-the-stairs, you-gonna-respect-my-rules, don’t play … Read More

‘When Can A Child Be Left Alone?’ – A new report argues that vague laws lead to unnecessary investigations and removals

When I was 7 years old I would ride the bus to school with my grandmother. When she got off the bus to go to work, I’d ride the bus a few more stops, then walk the four blocks to my school by myself. I didn’t think anything of it. My grandma taught me to never stray from the path and she also warned me to scream, kick or punch if someone tried to take … Read More