Parents whose children enter foster care have often experienced serious trauma, including sexual assault, physical abuse or abandonment in childhood, community violence, and domestic violence. Research in NYC has found that more than half of mothers with children in care met the criteria for PTSD. Yet parents are rarely screened or treated for trauma. Learning about trauma–and the feelings of rage, shame, fear and hopelessness that so often come from trauma–can help you find the right supports and build a safer life for yourself and your children.
Being raised in foster care and my daughters ending up there used to seem like an unbreakable cycle. I had feelings of being stuck in the past. The abuse I encountered at home and in foster care left scars so deep. I suffer from them as I write this story.
Going into adulthood I prayed and promised myself that I wouldn’t continue the cycle. But the problems I wanted to run from consumed me. My first … Read More
For the most part, my childhood is a blur, but I remember being about 7 and my uncle feeling on my backside when I was asleep. That’s when my hell began. At the time, I lived with my uncle and my mom, who was deep into an addiction. My baby sister slept in her crib. I lay on my top bunk feeling scared and confused.
I first told my story when I was 14 and spent … Read More
Since 2010, the Chautauqua County Family Court in upstate New York has worked to become a “trauma-informed court.” Here, Judge Judith Claire and Aimee Neri, a licensed social worker who is the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project Liaison to the 8th Judicial District, describe how they’ve brought awareness of trauma into the court and how it’s helping families:
Q: How did you decide to focus on trauma in your court?
Neri: We know that … 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
When you spend too much time as a kid in survival mode—feeling like you have no one to rely on and blocking out the pain whatever ways you can—sometimes you don’t realize in time that you have to change.
Alone in the System
I was raised by my grandmother until I was 10, when my mom decided she was done doing drugs and wanted her children. To me, it seemed like one big adventure. But when I … Read More