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‘Why Is This Happening in Your Life?’ Parents in the Child Welfare System Need to Be Heard

*Photo credit: Tough Love documentary

Many Americans think of parents who have had their children removed from their care by the state as abusive and not deserving of a second chance. Nicole Goodwin, a military veteran and single mother living in New York, recently shared her experience of having her six-year-old daughter removed from her care in a New York Times parenting blog.

Goodwin describes the stigma she felt from her lawyer and the community when she was charged with neglecting her daughter. Luckily, the judge at her trial believed there was more to her story, and a spark was ignited inside Goodwin that allowed her to believe she could get her daughter back.

Goodwin felt inspired to share her story after attending the the DOC NYC Film Festival in November. The documentary Tough Love premiered, offering a rare glimpse inside the U.S. child welfare system. View the trailer below about two parents battling large obstacles in order to put their families back together.

“If there’s one thing that ‘Tough Love’ brought home, it’s that
people need to be heard. I met people in child welfare who listened to me:
my judge and excellent lawyers and parent advocates…” 

Goodwin hopes the documentary will remind Americans that there are more to parents’ stories than what is portrayed on the news.

At KVC, we help more than half of children who enter foster care safely reunite with their birth families. Foster care is a safe place that gives a child and his or her birth family an opportunity to resolve conflicts or disruptions and learn healthy skills so children can safely return home.

It is important that foster parents work in partnership with birth family members and provide ongoing care and support for children until a permanent plan is implemented. Learn more about foster care and please consider becoming a foster parent! 

*Nicole Goodwin is a single mother and veteran living in New York. She is also a writer for Rise, a magazine written by and for parents affected by the child welfare system.