Handling Your Case

When children are placed in foster care, parents often feel overwhelmed, afraid, ashamed, angry and confused. Stories by other parents who have reunited with their children can help you navigate the child welfare system. Even if your goal is to fight the allegations in court, it’s usually a good idea to immediately enroll in services that the court is requiring, such as parenting classes or treatment. Stories here show how to work with your lawyer, caseworker and parent advocate; take the lead in planning support services; and stay connected with your children while they are in foster care.

Advocating for your Children

What parents can ask the school to do to help their children succeed.

Erika Palmer, a lawyer at Advocates for Children, a nonprofit that guides parents of children in New York City public schools, explains how parents can get school-based services for their children:

Q: What school services can help a child who is struggling in school?A: If parents are getting called down to the school because of a child’s behavior problems, parents can request a … Read More

How to Prevent Termination

We interviewed Kathy Gomez, managing attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and Michael Wagner, director of permanency at the Children’s Aid Society, a foster care agency in New York City, about how parents  can prevent termination. Here is their advice: 

1. Get Started Right Away 

Michael Wagner: Someone wise once said to me that permanency planning is like a horse race—all the horses have to start out running and have to run … Read More

What Is TPR?

Retired Virginia judge Stephen Rideout explains the legal process for termination of parental rights (TPR) proceedings:

There’s a federal law about how states should handle child welfare cases, called ASFA, which requires that child welfare agencies file for termination if the child has been in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months, unless the agency can provide the court with a valid reason not to do that.

However, each state has its own law … Read More

Use Your Power to Choose

Interview with Digna Denis, parent advocate at Children’s Aid, by Rise’s Keyna Franklin

Parents have the right to choose their services. You don’t need to wait on that agency referral. You have to learn how to work the system, because the system will work you over like you don’t know what hit you.

In court or in doctor’s offices, look for flyers. In the agency, ask, ask, ask other parents. If you hear from other parents, … Read More

How to Negotiate

Be clear about your goals. That advice might sound obvious but a lot of times people go into negotiation without being clear. Your goals might be the unity of your family and well-being of your child.

Write down your goal in a sentence or two and keep it in front of you. That can become a guide to how you’re acting or reacting. Things will happen to make us upset and draw off course from our … Read More

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