I must really be getting old fast, because time is accelerating at warp speed. Seriously, 2014 can’t be coming to an end; the past year seems like a blur. It almost feels like we went from 2013 to 2015. Yes – 2015! Let’s say goodbye to another year. Be careful, in a nod and a wink it will be 2016.
As years go, 2014 was a good one. We started out in grand style, holding our Grand Opening in our new Administrative Headquarters and Conference Center. Nearly 500 people showed up to help us celebrate this accomplishment.
Shortly thereafter, the Family Care Network achieved yet another strategic milestone by becoming nationally accredited through the Joint Commission on Accreditation, the most prestigious accrediting body in the United States–possibly the world. This concluded a year-long process and tons of hard work by many people within our agency. It was a great learning experience, and we sailed through the on-site accreditation audit. Our goal now is to maintain this highest standard of excellence.
In February, we launched the first of five conference presentations (which concluded in September) when I was asked to present a TED Talk, which I titled “Abandon Everything you Know about Strategic Planning and Embrace Chaos.” These were a lot of fun and provided great state and national exposure for the Family Care Network. Also in February, I was elected to the Board of Directors for the international Foster Family-based Treatment Association which is one of the primary and most influential voices for Therapeutic Foster Care in the country.
In June, the Family Care Network was selected to host the first of six Kinship-Therapeutic Foster Care summits throughout the United States. Once again, this is quite an honor. The event, sponsored by FFTA, and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, involved San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties along with several other providers to learn about and strategize on developing Kinship-Therapeutic Foster Care (KTFC) within our region. KTFC is an excellent venue for providing medically necessary treatment services, keeping the foster child or youth within a relative placement and fast-tracking a permanent placement. This was a very successful undertaking.
At the end of July, FCNI launched its first ever “Benefit for Kids”, a rebranding of our previously held Taste of the Central Coast. The event was conducted in partnership with the Madonna family at their new Secret Garden venue and was hugely successful. Much of this success is attributable to a new Community Resource Development Subcommittee established by our Board of Directors. This committee, chaired by Board Member Brian Tietje, included a number of individuals from the business community. Their input and guidance was fantastic!
Throughout 2014, we made great use of our new Conference Center, hosting a number of collaborative trainings, meetings and informational events. We are quite pleased to be able to serve our County partners and to the community this way. We have much bigger plans for the facility in 2015.
Additionally, I have continued to be very involved in advocacy, legislation and public policy development. This has involved dozens of trips to Sacramento, numerous workgroups and conference calls, and meeting with state and national legislators. The end results have been good. The most important public policy initiative is the Continuum of Care Reform process (CCR). In a nutshell, CCR created a proposal to the state legislature to completely remodel California’s foster care system. This includes: creating a core practice model, eliminating siloed services and replacing it with a flexible, needs-driven, “what’s in the best interest of the child” process. The CCR will also implement a requirement that all foster care providers in California be nationally accredited and establish a new, long-overdue rate structure. The CCR still needs to go through the legislative process and become law, but the framework being proposed is outstanding and will potentially be a national model as well.
Finally, 2014 concluded with an overwhelming amount of support by our community to help us provide for our children and youth for the holidays. Nearly 1,000 gifts were donated in a value far in excess of $40,000! Amazing, totally amazing! What a great testimony to the compassion and generosity of the Central Coast.
2015 – bring it on, we are ready for you here at the Family Care Network!