Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote, “Home is the nicest word there is!” I wish this was true for everyone; but on any given day, more than 400,000 American children have no home to call their own. Think for a moment about “Home”--what that means to you and what it would be like if you had no place to call Home?
Category: Voice of our CEO
There is a very cryptic, often misunderstood passage in the New Testament which I would like to use to illustrate a point: The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23) Understanding this excerpt is not difficult. Jesus was embellishing on a passage from the Book of Deuteronomy regarding greed and generosity.
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.
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.