in 2007 when I was 20 years old and he was one and a half. I had run away from foster care and had nowhere to live and no money for food. I was also dealing with depression and trauma—and an abusive partner. I didn’t have support from my family and felt uncared for and alone.
The family friend lived in a cozy, nice home. She suggested that I leave my son with her and write a statement saying that he would live with her family temporarily, just until I got situated and had my own place.
I did not want to be without him, but I wasn’t able to provide a home or food. A ball formed in my throat and I wanted to break down and cry, but I agreed to it. If I had access to food, housing, mental health care and emotional support, I would not have made that decision. I didn’t know that my son would end up living there for 10 years.
As we begin a new school year amidst the ongoing pandemic, families are facing many challenges, including barriers to their children’s education. Equity issues continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic. You may still lack the equipment needed for remote learning or consistent available WIFI, including in shelters, or may be dealing with continuous changes to plans. Many times, information about how to join remote sessions is provided at the last minute.
Rise has joined parents and advocacy groups working to protect families from unnecessary, harmful CPS reports and investigations based on school absences during the pandemic. Together, we are working to share information with you about your rights and resources that are available to you as your child returns to school — whether remotely or partly in person — during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Research links adverse childhood experiences, known as ACEs, such as abuse, neglect or experiencing or witnessing violence, to health and well-being challenges in adulthood. But in her research, Dr. Christina Bethell, director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that many people who experienced ACEs also had positive experiences as children that made a difference in adulthood.
Here, Dr. Bethell discusses the importance of focusing on positive and healing experiences for individuals, families and communities. She explains how to establish family routines that promote well-being even when families are under stress and how parents can set the agenda to get help their families may need.
Due to COVID-19, children currently are not physically attending school or programs staffed by mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports to child protective services have decreased significantly. Some quickly jumped to the conclusion that abuse and neglect may be going undetected and unreported.
However, parents and advocates provide another perspective and explain that the drop in calls is not necessarily the problem the media assumes. In fact, 90% of school personnel hotline calls turn out not be abuse or neglect.