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. For professionals, Rise stories offer insight that can improve how you engage and support families. For parents, Rise offers information, peer support, and hope.
My biggest fear has always been ACS taking my kids. I have embodied trauma from when I was a child—the system broke me and my siblings apart and took us away from our mom. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen to my two kids.
As a parent, I had my share of ACS cases when I was experiencing domestic violence, but because of my childhood experiences, I don’t believe ACS could have helped. ACS actually made things worse for me because caseworkers weren’t sensitive about my needs and didn’t understand the domestic violence (DV) situation I was in.
Rise has changed and grown a lot over time. We started as a magazine and now have many different programs—the Rise & Shine Parent Leadership Program, Peer and Community Care Network, Parent Advocate Training Program, Organizing for our Parents’ Platform and our Communications Program.
We’ve always had writing and public speaking programs, which are now part of the Communications Program—and our work has changed, too.
As Rise moves into our second year of organizing, we are reflecting on our successes and developing plans for next steps in advocating for our Parents’ Platform. This year, we joined the efforts of a variety of organizations that have been leading the movement for affordable and accessible child care and equitable pay for child care providers. Rise brought the perspective of parents impacted by ACS into the movement for universal child care, recognizing lack of child care as a family policing issue and a driver of “neglect” allegations. We are excited about all we accomplished together in community during this program year.
Parents need resources to support LGBTQ children and youth in being affirmed, safe and celebrated in their homes, schools and communities. In our report, An Unavoidable System, Rise recommends expanding access to community-based programs that center the needs of families with LGBTQ children—without family policing system involvement.
Here, Rise talks with Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project based in San Francisco, California and Angela Weeks, Director of the National SOGIE Center at University of Maryland School of Social Work’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation. They discuss their new national website, the need to center parents and families in caring for LGBTQ youth, the impact of family accepting and rejecting behaviors on LGBTQ youth, examples of affirming behaviors by parents and how community-led resources can prevent family policing system involvement.