Our families.  Our children.  Our city.  It's time for change.

Work that heals

The Parent Self Help Support Group promotes healing from the trauma that comes from being affected by the city's child welfare system.


We seek to strategically, proactively drive concepts and positions that give voice and equality to our communities--concepts and positions that are frequently unpopular in the mainstream.

mission & vision

CWOP puts HEAT on the child welfare system, demanding accountability and change; HOPE to disenfranchised families already impacted by the system; and HELP for parents to become organizers, leaders, and advocates.


Child Welfare Organizing Project’s mission is to advocate for parents involved with the Administration for Children’s Services and empower them to do the same for themselves.  In 2016, we actively and successfully worked with members of City Council to bring forth legislation that will positively affect the futures of kids aging out of foster care. We hold weekly support and healing group sessions to give parents a safe place to voice their frustrations and also share their successes on the road to unifying with their children or resuming a “normal” life without ACS involvement. Twice monthly we host an acclaimed Speakers Series which has become a think tank of professionals and parents who recognize the need to reform ACS. We invite you to get to know CWOP for yourself. We also invite you to make a tax-deductible contribution to CWOP via NY Charities. Your gift will be very much appreciated.


A BRIEF TIMELINE about cwop 

1994 - CWOP began from a grant from the Child Welfare Fund to the Hunter College School of Social Work.  Co-founders of CWOP include current Chair Emeritus John Courtney and Board Member and Professor Terry Mizrahi.  Around this time approximately 50,000 children were in NYC's foster care system. 

1996 - CWOP hosts a "Client Summit” of 200 parents, youth, foster parents, professionals, and advocates determined that the parent voice was the missing link in child welfare reform, thus, making parents an integral component of CWOP going forward.

1997 - Under the leadership of founding Executive Director Mabel Paulino, the CWOP-led Child Welfare Client Coalition for Change was formed.


Message from our chair

​​1998 - Michael Arsham assumes leadership of CWOP as Executive DIrector and a new mission was envisioned.

2001 - CWOP hires its first Parent Organizers and designs its Parent Leadership Curriculum ("PLC") to train parents to become advocates and organizers in child welfare.   Of the first six graduates of the PLC, three got full-time jobs as Parent Advocates and the other three worked for CWOP.  

2007 - NYC's Administration of Child Services agrees to have a CWOP-trained Parent Advocate at every child safety conference in East Harlem before any non-emergency child removal takes place.  Between 2007 and 2013, CWOP community representatives attended over 700 child safety conferences, and in 2/3 of those cases the child either remained with the parent or was placed with a relative.   

2009 - CWOP helped establish the Parent Advocate Initiative (PAI) to raise awareness and promote increased and effective use of Parent Advocates. PAI evolved into the citywide Parent Advocate Network which continues to be housed at CWOP.

2010 - As of 2010, CWOP trained over 120 parents to become Parent Advocates.   Half of these parents found positions working in approximately 25 NYC child welfare or social service agencies helping parents with children in care or wth other problems.     

2013 - Parent Advocate Sandra Killett is appointed Executive Director.

2015 - CWOP celebrates its twentieth year as a tireless advocate on behalf of NYC parents and children.   Due in part to the work of CWOP and its allies, the number of foster children in NYC agencies was greatly reduced to approximately 11,000.   

2016 - CWOP appoints Marianne Talbot, Esq. as its Interim Executive Director.  

Eva S.:   Parent Organizer

​Eva is a CWOP-trained Parent Organizer and Parent Advocate at the Child Welfare Organizing project.  Eva's journey in NYC's child welfare system began when her youngest child was diagnosed with autism.  Having a child on the Autism Spectrum led Eva to experience what she calls: "the rollercoaster that God gave her."  Eva is a graduate of CWOP's Parent Leadership Curriculum ("PLC") and now works closely with the parents who come through CWOP's doors and helps to keep the office and CWOP's programs running smoothly.  Eva's greatest pride in her work here at CWOP is that she helps parents and children find their voices to advocate for themselves and their families.  


Joyce McMillan:   Director of Programming and Parent Advocate
Joyce McMillan is CWOP's Faculty Lead and Parent/Advocate/Organizer.  She is a graduate of CWOP's Parent Leadership Curriculum (PLC) , a comprehensive Parent Advocate/Organizing course designed to empower parents, families and communities impacted by child protective policies, and also completed course hours for her CASAC-T.  Joyce left a position as a Team Leader/Supervisor II at the State of New York after being affected by the New York Child Protection System, and is now dedicated to transforming the current Child Protection System to a Child Welfare System that will protect and preserve families.  Ms. McMillan is the facilitator of CWOP's PLC alongside professional guest speakers.  She has lectured to professionals at the New School, Montclair University, Hunter College, Harlem Hospital and other institutions. She has also appeared in various media channels, and is continuously raising her voice for change.  You can reach Joyce at JMcMillan@cwop.org.