Shaina's Story

A Young Mother Breaks the Cycle of Foster Care

As a child, Shaina was neglected by her mother and removed from her care. From then on, she grew up in the foster care system. When she became pregnant at age 18, her child’s father abandoned her. With no place to go, Shaina was forced to live in a homeless shelter.

One cold winter night, she was attacked by another resident at the shelter and fled with her son and baby daughter to the police station down the block. But instead of helping her, the police called the City’s child protective services, because in her hurry to get away she did not have a coat or blanket for her children. Her children were placed in foster care with strangers.

Rather than sympathize with Shaina, however, her children’s foster care agency treated her history as a foster child as a mark against her, believing her to be “damaged” and doubting her parenting abilities. When she insisted on obtaining more visits, they said she was “uncooperative.” Fortunately for Shaina, she had a CFR team to advocate on her behalf and help her get the services she needed to become the parent she knew she could be.

Shaina’s CFR team secured increased visits with her children and accompanied her to meetings to ensure that she was treated fairly by the agency. They also helped her get into a GED program and find safe housing. Most excitingly, her team was able to get her entire case dismissed, because no mother should be punished for going to the police for help. Shaina and her children are now living safely together in Brooklyn. Having broken the cycle of foster care, the family has a bright future ahead of them.