Parents with mental illness are far more likely than other parents to lose their children to foster care. Children with mental illness or behavioral problems also are more likely to enter foster care, either to receive intensive services or because of family stress. Fear and shame can keep parents from reaching out for help. Effective services can also be very hard to find. Stories here explore parents’ experiences finding support for themselves and their children.
I have always wanted to give my kids a good childhood, something that I didn’t have. On holidays or on their birthdays, I take them out to Toys R Us, Chuck E. Cheese, BBQ’s, or Times Square. Seeing the smiles on their faces brings me happiness. It gives me a way to re-do my own sad childhood.
But other times I feel like I’m repeating my mother’s depression and anger with my … Read More
All parents feel overwhelmed sometimes when their children do normal things, like have temper tantrums or act demanding. But for parents who have experienced trauma, those difficult moments can remind us of painful childhood experiences when we felt terrified or overwhelmed by someone who was out of control. When that happens, we can respond by getting too angry or by shutting down.
Susan Chinitz, the director of the Early Childhood Center at the Albert Einstein College … Read More
I learned early on that black women are supposed to be “strong” and endure pain in silence. The three years I spent in the military and thefive-and-a-half months I spent stationed in Iraq taught me the same lessons: Be strong. Be silent.
A month after my daughter, Shylah, was born, I kissed her good-bye and flew off to Iraq. When I came home, I brought painful memories with me in the form … Read More
Illustration by Melanie Leong
Arietta Slade, City University of New York professor of clinical psychology and co-director of Minding the Baby, a mother-infant program at the Yale Child Study Center, describes the impact that removal can have on children and parents and the support they need to reconnect:
Q: How does placement in foster care affect children?
A: You want to think about it like this: We survive by being connected to other people. It’s the … Read More
art by Skylar Kane Kraemer
When I started attending an outpatient drug treatment program in 2001, I had a lot of dreams about using crack. My dreams were so real to me. One night, I saw myself buy crack in an old building and put the piece in a pipe. As I was inhaling, I woke up terrified, holding my breath.
My dreams seemed to continue when I was awake. I started hearing voices that … Read More