The potential for cruelty embedded within human nature is repulsive, especially when someone is perceived as being “different.” You need to venture no further than the schoolyard to see this concept manifested. Children can be brutal in their treatment of other children who they perceive as “deviating from the norm.” Teasing, taunting, bullying and outright physical aggression occurs far too often, resulting in serious trauma and emotional damage.
Category: Voice of our CEO
Thousands of children and youth across the nation have begun or will soon begin school. Sadly, for foster children and youth, this ritual represents a foreboding process invoking fears of rejection, ostracization and trauma. For most foster children, school is not a fun or engaging place.
When was the last time you heard a political talking head say anything about helping homeless families? Probably never. One political party continually demonizes these people, mischaracterizing them as lazy parasites who just want to live off of taxpayer dollars. Shame on these heartless morons because nothing could be further from the truth!
Let’s create a clearer picture about homeless families, the awful impact homelessness has on children and some strategies to address this problem.
When I joined the California Katie A Therapeutic Foster Care litigation settlement workgroup, the lead attorney quipped, “California is like the Wild-Wild West; 58 counties doing what they d***-well please!” How true. Sadly, how very true.
When I started the Family Care Network in 1987, there was certainly a different approach and philosophy driving the foster care system; now, looking back, it seems like the Stone Age. The system has come a long way, but it has been a tough, hard row to hoe.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” What a great metaphor for the process of guiding any youth, but especially foster youth, to successfully take flight as an adult.
In the summer of 2012, the State Legislature enacted SB 1013 which mandated the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to launch a broad-based, stakeholder process to determine how to reform California’s foster care system by creating a “continuum of programs and services that promote positive outcomes for children and families”, and provide a comprehensive recommendation to the Legislature by the end of 2014. Thus, began an intense two and half year process in which I was honored to be a participant.
I have often wondered how unbearable life would be without the skill, commitment, tenacity and hard work of Social Workers, position embedded in so many essential activities of our society. They work with children and seniors, the sick and impaired, victims and the exploited, the unemployed and those in recovery, schoolchildren, the dying and the mourning; in hospitals, in schools, in impoverished areas, in remote villages and our metropolitan areas.
Strategic Planning has been a significant element in my four decades of executive administration in both the public and private sectors. I started the Family Care Network in 1987 with a Strategic Plan, and we have continued to follow an aggressive planning process which has produced amazing results. But, it has not been without challenges and, at times, a lot of frustration! The good news–the ups and downs have helped us to hone an approach which is very effective and manageable.
Imagine if you will, how wonderful it would be to have the skills to improve a child or youth’s health, reduce obesity, improve academic performance and stabilize school behavior, improve self-confidence, build resiliency, reduce risk factors for engaging in violent or criminal behavior, improve future hopefulness and goal setting, build leadership skills and substantially improve their potential for success and achievement. Sound challenging? It’s not. Become a Mentor!