Parent advocates have an essential impactful role in providing effective legal representation to protect parents’ rights, prevent family separation and support parents involved with the child welfare system. Here, Iesha Hammons, the Parent Ally at Legal Services of New Jersey, explains how she supports parents, why she does this work, the challenges of being a Parent Ally and how she takes care of herself in the role.
Posts Tagged: Fighting For Our Rights
Fighting for our Rights is about parents’ legal rights and representation, as well as related legislation.
Parents struggling to provide for their children are often surprised to learn that gaps in basic care caused by poverty can result in allegations of neglect and child removal. Parents struggling with lack of adequate housing or poverty need access to resources and support, not an intrusive child welfare investigation, mandated services, or separation.
The coronavirus shutdown is putting stress on families and is negatively impacting families with child welfare involvement: Courts are closed, hearings are delayed and in-person visits and services are canceled. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Children’s Bureau has issued guidance to child welfare agencies.
Here, Jerry Milner, the Associate Commissioner of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, and David Kelly, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, explain parents’ rights and protections during the pandemic. They also discuss their guidance to child welfare agencies and courts and their vision for child welfare reform.
NYC parents at risk of child protective involvement or facing an investigation can now access legal representation through family defense organizations in their communities. In October, NYC’s City Council also introduced a bill t would ensure that all parents being investigated by ACS have information about how to access a lawyer and the opportunity to do so, although it hasn’t yet passed. Here, Emma Ketteringham, managing director of The Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Project, explains the importance of early legal representation and systemic reform to reduce child welfare involvement. The Bronx Defenders has been providing early legal representation to parents facing ACS investigations for 15 years.
On April 3, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will bring relief to parents accused of neglect. The bill makes it harder to list parents on the State Central Registry (SCR) and limits the time that parents can be listed for neglect, which can affect employment. Parents and advocates have been pushing for years to reform the way the SCR works in order to reduce its harmful impact on families and communities.
Here, Joyce McMillan, family coordinator at Sinergia and founder of PLAN (Parent Legislative Action Network), explains the new law and the advocacy that led to its passage.