Posts Tagged: Community

Healing-Centered Schools: A community-led approach to creating safe and healing school environments

Rise has been exploring abolition and how community-led approaches can support safe, thriving families and communities, free from child welfare involvement. Rise has also reported that when families need support, schools frequently report parents’ to the state child abuse and neglect hotline, and the harm this causes to families. Nationally, 90% of school-based calls are later deemed “unsubstantiated.”

The Bronx Healing-Centered Schools Working Group has developed a community-led model and process to shift the culture of schools in the Bronx to focus on healing. The working group collaboratively created a Community Roadmap to Bring Healing-Centered Schools to the Bronx.

Here, three members of the working group, Rasheedah Harris, Katrina Feldkamp and Nelson Mar, discuss the vision for healing-centered schools and how this approach will benefit families and keep students safe — without overreporting to CPS or policing in schools. Rasheedah Harris is a Parent Leader and leads the working group’s outreach efforts. Katrina Feldkamp is a Staff Attorney at Bronx Legal Services. Nelson Mar is Senior Staff Attorney at Bronx Legal Services.

We Need a Childhood Protection Service

When my children were in foster care, it was hard for them to be children. They were 4, 9, 11 and 12 years old, but they were forced to be in adult business.

Instead of being asked questions like, “How was your day in school?” or “What things do you like doing?” the ACS worker would ask them questions like, “Did your mom hit you?” or “Did your mom do anything to you?” to see if they could make the case bigger than what it was.

Every Thursday when they came out of school, I saw my children for three hours. I was on time all the time. I brought them toys, clothes and food that they liked so they knew that I didn’t forget about them.

Luckily there was one other place where my children were allowed to be children, and that was at a youth center in the Bronx. The foster mother took them, and it helped them not focus on being in care and not seeing me every day. They did activities like football, basketball, dance.

In addition to being a place where children can stay kids, the community center helps families because they know what families need from day to day. I think families need more places like the center. For families under stress, organizations like the center can be a place to feel joy and togetherness and to share resources.