We came across Rise this evening, and we think it’s nothing short of brilliant, and so had to share it. In fact, we think the UK needs its own version of Rise, right now.
So, what is it? As the post title suggests, it’s a magazine written by parents who have experienced the family justice system in the US, and most often that means parents who have at some point, lost their children to the care system.
Why is it so brilliant? The magazine aims to tackle negative stereotypes of parents who lose their children to the care system, effectively giving them a voice and highlighting the fact that these parents are more often than not loving mothers and fathers who have struggled with their own personal demons, and lost the fight to free themselves from them.
It is also designed to help family practitioners better understand the issues involved in child welfare through advocacy and training as well as support groups. The initiative also trains parents to write about their own experiences in order to help other parents going through the welfare system.
What’s in the magazine? Mostly personal stories of parents who have been inside the child welfare system. The magazine also offers workbooks and support links. The workbooks are particularly good – from information for parents visiting their children in foster care, building relationships between parents and foster carers, to stories about reunification with children and beating substance addictions to enable reconnection with your children, this site is ground-breaking.
There is something else unusual about Rise. None of the parents mentioned appear to be using alter egos or made up names, and children also do not appear to be shielded by anonymity. This may be due to the fact that the cases discussed are now over, or it may be another factor at play entirely (this is a US site and their rules on reporting may differ from ours), but the stories we have read are thought-provoking and inspiring.
We absolutely need something like this in the UK – we hope someone out there is listening….