Pilot Plan to expand use of parent advocates in foster care

New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services is launching a pilot program to expand the use of parent advocates who have experience dealing with the foster care system and can support mentor parents whose children are currently in foster care.

The “Parents Supporting Parents” initiative will be launched at two nonprofits, Graham Windham and Rising Ground, which will each include parent advocates in their foster care case planning teams. Parent advocates will be able to help parents understand how family court works, to provide emotional support and other practical support throughout the process. Rise, an advocacy organization which focuses on supporting parents involved with the child welfare system, will provide training and coaching to advocates as well.

“Parent advocates have walked in the shoes of those currently navigating the child welfare system, and their lived experiences can help empower parents with children in foster care,” ACS Commissioner David Hansell said in a statement. “Elevating the voices of parents is a critical strategy to reunify families more quickly.”

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