The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) regularly hears from frantic parents who are facing termination of parental rights. Generally, there is nothing that can be offered except a listening ear.
What can we do to help parents earlier in the process before they face termination of their rights? Let’s look at some resources that parents and those who help parents may find helpful.
Many states have an ombudsman’s office that investigates complaints from families receiving child protective, foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice services. You can access a list of the child welfare state complaint/ombudsman offices here:
Parents Anonymous sponsors the National Parent Helpline with this description:
The National Parent Helpline® is here for you and is open to parents and caregivers of children and youth of all ages.
1-855- 4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736)
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday through Friday
10:00 AM PST to 7:00 PM PST
A trained National Parent Helpline® Advocate is ready to:
- listen to you
- offer emotional support
- help you problem-solve
- support you in creating your own solutions
- encourage you to take care of yourself
- work with you to get connected to local services
- explore new resources for your family
- help you build on your own strengths and continue to be a great parent!
- visit the Helpline website at: http://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/
For parents whose children are in foster care with the goal of reunification, a half-dozen resources are available here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/resources/parents/
A new resource, the Birth Parent National Network, is working to promote and champion birth parents as leaders and strategic partners in prevention and child welfare systems reform. You can find more information here: http://bpnn.ctfalliance.org/
The Child Welfare Information Gateway has numerous resources for parents and those helping parents including tips for parents, understanding developmental stages, child safety, nutrition, finding help, etc. Here’s the place to start: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/promoting/parenting/
Finally, there is a magazine and a book that will be of interest to both parents and their advocates. Rise magazine gives voice to parents. For 10 years Rise has worked with parents to write and share their stories in order to deepen understanding of fragile families, provide information, healing and encouragement to parents, and guide child welfare professionals in becoming more responsive to the families and communities they serve. Visit the website: http://www.risemagazine.org/rise-magazine/
David Tobis, a prior board member of the National Family Preservation Network, has published a book, From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System. New York City had one of the worst child welfare systems in the United States: 50,000 children were in foster care; they and their families were often neglected or abused by the system; parents had no voice; and the services designed to protect children were more often harming, rather than helping, them. From Pariahs to Partners tells for the first time the inspiring story of the parents and their allies–child welfare commissioners, social workers, lawyers, and foundation officers–who joined together to change the system. You can order the book here:
Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director