As the Family Care Network moved toward and crossed its 30 year milestone, I was asked a lot of questions, such as: how does it feel to hit this anniversary, did I ever imagine FCNI would become what it has, am I planning to retire; what my future plans are, and so on. Probably some of the most important questions to me, however, were: why are you so driven, what has kept me going all these years, and what has been my best memory? Not surprisingly to me, the answer to all of these questions is the same—CHANGED LIVES!
Category: Voice of our CEO
Thirty Years, what an amazing, blessed journey it has been--watching the Family Care Network emerge from a dream to become a significant, important player in the lives of so many children, youth and families. Ours is a story of incredible people, risk taking, passion, heart, tenacity, innovation, partnership, creativity, planning and, above all, serving!
Unless you are living in some altered reality, it is unquestionably clear – we are living in Uncertain Times. Politically, financially, geopolitically, environmentally, internationally, culturally, socially, “the times they are a chang’n.” Unfortunately, these changes aren’t necessarily for the better. Except for annoying political nonsense, the last eight years have been pretty stable. But now... it feels like our normative order is being turned on its head. Angst and fear have blanketed the hearts of far too many as uncertainty burgeons like an explosion of wildflowers after a rainy season.
Your Attitude determines the state of the world you live in; it is the foundation for every success and every failure you have had and will have. Your Attitude will make you or break you.
ATTITUDE is the primary determinant of how you are perceived and how others react to you. Have a positive, joyful attitude, and you’ll have positive, joyful results. Put out a bad, negative attitude, and you’ve failed before you even begin.
My wife and I have been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren--seven lives we absolutely cherish. Like most conscientious grandparents, and parents for that matter, observing the times we live in can be very disconcerting and troublesome. What will their future hold? What are the negative influences permeating their innocence? Who will they model after? These are just some of the thoughts that haunt us.
You know, it is really easy to complain and criticize, to worry and fret, or to get angry. I, for one, am guilty of these reactions; not often, but enough to disappoint myself. How good it feels to break out of the stupor and regain my sense of direction! You see, we all have a choice--to be overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, or to overwhelm those circumstances through Innovation and Creativity!
I spent most of the first week of May doing public policy advocacy in Washington DC, something I have done for nearly a decade. Wow, was this year different! As I flew back to California, these four words resonated in my thoughts: Fear, Complacency, Conviction and Courage.
“Foster Care” has come a long way over the past couple of centuries and is yet experiencing another significant transformation. Foster care in the USA has its origins in English Poor Law, which basically allowed an abandoned or orphaned child to be forced into indentured servitude until they became of age. Kids basically became slaves for the individuals housing them. The argument in favor of this practice was that this arrangement provided children with the “basic skills they needed to survive in life.” America’s first foster child was Benjamin Eaton, age 7, in the Jamestown Colony.
I hope that I’m not the only one who finds it very disturbing that the wellbeing of children and youth in this country is ascribed such a low priority. Among all nations of the world, the USA ranks number two for the highest child abuse rate per capita, far worse than countries like Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh. Of the 35 developed countries, the United States ranks 34th in its child poverty rate. Add to these rankings that we also have one of the highest infant mortality rates and very low academic achievement, and our country isn’t painted in a very pretty picture.
Given the immense wealth and resources we have in this country, there is no excuse for our kids to suffer and fall short the way that they do. Unfortunately, our many shortcomings can be easily explained – our Policymakers and power brokers simply don’t give a ##@&!
It should go without saying--regardless of political affiliation--it is far better for our communities to solve local needs rather than depend upon the government. Right now on the Central Coast there is a significant need which needs families and individuals to rally together to solve!
To put it bluntly, there are not enough individuals and families to care for and meet the needs of the children and youth in our local foster care system. This shortage represents a significant community need--these are our kids who, through no fault of their own, have been removed from their families. These children and youth need our help.