Helping fellow parents find their way

Parents aiming to regain custody of their children face both personal and legal challenges made even harder for newcomers to the child welfare system. Having navigated the system firsthand, Children's Home Society of Washington’s Alise Hegle today draws from her experience to help others.
In 2009, Alise was addicted to methamphetamines, facing a seven-year prison sentence and saw her infant daughter Rebekah placed in foster care. Facing a crossroads, Alise was offered a unique opportunity to turn her life around with the option of treatment instead of incarceration.
After completing an in-patient program, Alise was reunited with her daughter in spring 2009. She later served as a program lead for the King County Parents for Parents program, and now works with Children's Home Society of Washington’s Catalyst for Kids as an advocate for parents.
Through advocacy, partnerships and community involvement, Catalyst for Kids works to effect statewide policy change that strengthens the child welfare system. Part of Catalyst for Kids’ strategy pairs “veteran” parents like Alise with newcomers who need guidance.
“I really believe that everything Catalyst for Kids does is to positively support families and children in our community who can really benefit from having a voice that can advocate for them,” she said.
“When I was going through the system, I didn’t know about the ‘veteran parent’ concept,” she said. “Catalyst for Kids recognizes that a veteran parent can provide so much concrete support, hope and assistance that a lot of other people can’t.”
Alise says she’s living proof that “families – whole families – can heal” with guidance and assistance. Her soon to be five-year-old daughter is excelling, and Alise is Seattle Central Community College’s sole nominee for the 2014 Transforming Lives Award.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that I wasn’t meant to raise this amazing child…” she said. “Ending every single night with her in my arms makes me even more passionate about helping families on their own journey.”