Legal Rights

Parents’ legal rights in child welfare proceedings vary from state to state, and even in different cities. Work with your lawyer or a parent advocate to learn more about your rights. Rise’s interviews with lawyers offer guidance on your rights and responsibilities.

Parental Designation: A Way of Planning for the Expected and Unexpected

Throughout our 2020 series, Fighting for Our Rights, Rise has highlighted information about parents’ legal rights and representation — both to prevent child welfare system involvement and to protect your family if ACS does become involved. 

Parental designation is a legal option in New York that allows a parent to designate someone you trust to temporarily take care of your child, while maintaining your parental rights and without ACS becoming involved.

Here, Jessica Prince, Policy Counsel … Read More

Visiting Hours

How to advocate for time with your child

Vivek Sankaran, clinical assistant professor of law in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan, explains how parents can advocate for the best visits possible.

Q: What right do parents have to visits?A: Every state has different minimum requirements. Most have at least onehour a week. But that’s the minimum, not the maximum parents should see a child.

Visits should start immediately after placement. There’s … Read More

On the Right Track

Working with your lawyer to get your children back.

Maxine Ketcher, senior staff attorney at Legal Services for New York City–Bronx, explains how your lawyer can help you get to reunification – and get the services you need to support your family

Q: How do parents know they’re on track to reunification?A: If you’re on track, you should be getting increased visits, especiallyunsupervised visits. If your visitation isn’t increased over a period of six months, even … Read More

An Obligation to Protect

What parents need to know about domestic violence and child welfare law

In 1999, New York City’s foster care system removed Sharwline Nicholson’schildren solely because she was a victim of domestic violence. One nightNicholson’s ex-boyfriend showed up at her house and assaulted her when she opened the door. While she was in the hospital, the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) took her children from a neighbor’s home and charged her with “engaging in domestic … Read More

Fostering Connections

Parents’ relationships with foster parents affect their cases.

Recent research suggests that children in foster care who are placed with relatives do better than those placed with foster families. According to a study published in the journal Families in Society, children in kinship care endure fewer moves from home to home, are less likely to remain in care long-term (but also less likely to be reunified with their parents), and are less likely to end … Read More