“Can Parents Accused of Neglect Redeem One Another?”

from Al-Jazeera America:

…On the last Wednesday in July, Wick showed up at CWOP, a non-profit group located in an East Harlem housing project. She joined nine parents — eight moms and one dad, all accused of abuse or neglect — in a room lined with flyers and inspirational posters. They stood holding hands for an opening prayer. Among them were volunteers and paid staff of CWOP who had their own histories in the child welfare system but had reunited with their children. These parents, once dismissed as hopeless, were now trained as “parent advocates” to mentor the recently accused.

New people got to talk first. Wick started slow, struggling to convey months of stress and isolation. They’d moved around, they were in a shelter, there were mental health issues. Jill was “out of control.” There’d been trouble with the police.

Wick’s frustration reverberated through the room. Someone passed her a crumpled tissue. “You have to work on your temper from now on,” said an older, more seasoned parent.

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