Rise reports on the child welfare system with a goal of highlighting efforts to improve policies and practice and spotlighting effective practices.

‘Let All That Is Indian Within You Die’ – Recognizing America’s brutal legacy with Native American families.

Judge William Thorne as told to Antoinette Robinson

Shortly after I started working as a tribal judge, one of my cases involved whether to remove children from their family. I didn’t know much about the child welfare system and I needed to do some research. But I also trusted that the child welfare system knew the answers. The more I researched, though, the more I learned that the system was broken.

Since the 1880s, the United States … Read More

The Courage to Tell Their Stories – In South Dakota, Native Americans organize for change.

In 2005, Native Americans in South Dakota reached out to human rights lawyers because more than 700 Native American children in South Dakota were taken from their families every year. Here, Chase Iron Eyes, South Dakota counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project, and Sara Nelson, its executive director, describe how people came together to bring about change:

Q: What led the Native American community to organize to reform child welfare?

Iron Eyes: … Read More

At the Table – Involving parent advocates before removal can help prevent unnecessary placements.

Around the country, a number of child welfare agencies are beginning to partner with communities to keep kids of color out of foster care. In 2007, NYC’s Administration for Children Services partnered with the parent advocacy organization Child Welfare Organizing Project on a new approach—offering parents at risk of removal the support of another parent who has dealt with the child welfare system.

In NYC, the decision whether to place a child in foster care is … Read More

The Heart of the Problem – Child welfare systems are beginning to recognize—and treat—parents’ trauma.

Trauma is an experience that makes you feel that your life—or a loved one’s life—is in danger and overwhelms your ability to cope. In recent years, child welfare systems around the country have been focusingon the role trauma plays in child welfare, and systems have begun to recognize how deeply trauma impacts not only children in foster care, but also parents.

Here Erika Tullberg, associate director of the NYU Center on Coordinated Trauma Services in Child … Read More

The Person Behind the Petition – Getting the court to see beyond stereotypes.

When parents go to court, they often feel that their voices are not heard. They’re afraid of the power that the court has over them. They have to put all their trust in their lawyer, a person they may be meeting for the first time. They feel stripped of their whole identity—other than the stigma that goes along with having a child welfare case and the stigma that comes with being poor, a minority, lacking … Read More