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


Our history

Founded in 1994 with a grant from the Child Welfare Fund from the Hunter College School of Social Work, CWOP’s early research concluded that parents, particularly biological parents, had practically no voice in NYC’s child welfare system.  Twenty years later, parents who have had direct, personal experience with the system now serve as advisors to public officials, lecture at area school of law and social work, develop training curricula for both parents and professionals, write for publications and work as peer advocates for the public child welfare system as well as foster care, preventive, and legal services providers.  Within the same time period, NYC’s foster care population and involuntary removals of children from their families have declined by close to 50%; furthermore, neighborhood based family support and preservation services are more central to ongoing system reform efforts.  CWOP, with a staff and Board consisting largely of affected parents, has contributed significantly to this transformation through a wide range of evolving, constituent-driven activities and strategies including:

  • Parent education and community organizing
  • Facilitating parent dialogue with child welfare policy-makers, and parent participation in professional education
  • Helping parents write for publications and work with the media
  • Ongoing development of a peer-led parent leadership curriculum orienting ACS involved parents to their rights and responsibilities within the child welfare system, and preparing them to serve both as peer advocates and as uniquely qualified policy analysts.

A wonderful history about the history of CWOP and the Child Welfare movement is a book by David Tobis called "From Pariah To Partner:  How Parents and their Allies Changed New York City's Child Welfare System" published by Oxford University Press.