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.
When you’ve grown up in foster care and you return to the system as a parent, it often seems like the court knows your entire mental health history. Because your current therapist also reports to the court about your progress, therapy can wind up feeling neither private nor safe.
Sonja Jacobsen, a lawyer for parents in Washington State, explains how to make therapy safer.
Q: Why is therapy important for parents when kids are in foster care?
A: … Read More
I became pregnant at 18. I was living in Champaign, Illinois, under state custody. I was a runaway from a transitional living placement and had met the man of my dreams.
We were in love and so happy to become parents. Still, I worried. I told my boyfriend all about my involvement with the state. He said we weren’t doing anything wrong so I didn’t need to be afraid. But I knew … Read More
Many of us who grew up in foster care feel like the child welfare system is just waiting for us to mess up, and according to the American Bar Association’s Center for Children and the Law, 77% of lawyers who responded to a recent survey said they believe that mothers in foster care are separated from their children for less serious allegations than other mothers.
Here, Jessica Weidmann, a lawyer at the Center for Family Representation … Read More
When parents are facing a child welfare case, they often keep silent about their past history of trauma. Sometimes parents’ past experiences are too painful to talk about. Other times parents fear that talking openly about experiences of violence or victimization might hurt their case. Parents are right to be concerned that what they say in court or to their worker can be used against them. At the same time, keeping all past … Read More
Most people I come in contact with have horrible stories about their lawyers. Not me. I had a good experience with my two lawyers, Charlyne Peay and Sharon Yoo. They were from the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project, an effort to connect parents with mental illness to private practice lawyers who volunteer to represent them in child welfare proceedings.
In Good Hands
In my case, I didn’t have the right to a … Read More