Rise Magazine

Rise magazine is written by parents who have faced the child welfare system in their own lives. Many people don’t know that the majority of children who enter foster care return home to their parents–and that most children in care wish for a lifelong relationship with their parents, whether they live with them or not. Helping parents is fundamental to helping children in foster care.

Through personal essays and reporting, parents illuminate every aspect of the child welfare experience from parents’ perspectives. Sign up for a free individual subscription or purchase print copies to hand out to parents and child welfare staff. For professionals, Rise stories offer insight that can improve how you engage and support fragile families. For parents, Rise offers information, peer support, and hope.

Domestic Violence

False and Malicious CPS Reports: Why NY Should End Anonymous Reporting

A new bill introduced in the NY State Legislature would replace anonymous child abuse and neglect reports with confidential reports, requiring callers to the State Central Registry to provide identifying information when making a report.

Many parents at Rise have shared their stories of how perpetrators of domestic violence wield the child welfare system as a weapon to further dynamics of power, control and abuse. VOW (Voices of Women) has been working to address the issue of false and malicious reports of child abuse and neglect through their Rights of Children Campaign. Here, Raquel Singh, executive director of VOW, and Johnnie Lee Fielder, domestic violence advocate, discuss how replacing anonymous reporting with confidential reporting could make a difference.

Domestic Violence

Silenced: My ex-husband has used CPS to abuse me for more than a decade

The child welfare system needs to have a policy to fight false allegations, and their workers need to be trained to detect them. Right now, false reports are simply tools for perpetrators to continue controlling their victims even when those victims have succeeded in going on with their lives. ACS becomes puppets of our abusers and our children suffer.

Rise Magazine

Proposed Federal Legislation Would Suspend the ASFA Timeline, Not Parental Rights, During COVID-19

Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on families and the child welfare system, Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin proposed legislation to extend federal timelines for reunification without financial penalties to states. Here, Rep. Moore explains what the proposed bill would change, why it is important and how parents can support it.

Legal Rights

‘We had to see it through for my niece, my sister, our family’: How Amber Wilkes-Smith filed an appeal to try to keep her family together

Soon after Amber Wilkes-Smith’s niece was born, she was placed in foster care in Buffalo, New York. Amber was not notified by the child welfare system, in violation of her family’s rights and child welfare requirements. By the time she found out her niece was in care, her sister’s parental rights had been terminated. Amber filed a petition through the court to try to get custody. When her petition was denied, she appealed the decision. Although Amber lost the appeal, she is sharing her experience to raise awareness of these issues, help other families and push for change.

Here, Amber and Michael Steinberg, Amber’s lawyer in the appeal, explain the appeal process. They discuss violations of parents’ and families’ legal rights and systemic injustice in the child welfare and family court systems.

Rise Magazine

How Parents Can Advocate for their Children to Be Placed with Family

When faced with the trauma of the child welfare system removing their children, many parents prefer that their children be cared for by a family member or someone they know and trust, rather than by strangers. Research shows that children benefit from being placed with family members rather than non-relatives, and states are required by law to prioritize placement with relatives. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens in practice. In NYC, the child welfare agency, ACS, invested in coaching and training so that more children are placed with kin.

Here, Lavern Harry, VP Foster Care, Adoption and Preventive Services, and Nosa Omoruyi, Director Foster Parent Recruitment, Development and Support, talk about practices that have increased use of kinship care at Graham, an agency in New York City. Ms. Harry and Mr. Omoruyi discuss the rights of parents and family members, as well as some of the challenges of kinship care. They also suggest what parents can do if their children are removed to make it more likely that they will — or won’t — be placed with particular family members.