I am very excited about the prospects of radically transforming our Child Welfare/Child Protective Services Systems. For three-plus decades, Family Care Network has worked with traumatized children, youth and families after they have gone over the falls, crashed on the rocks, and have been severely broken and damaged in the process. How wonderful--and smart--it will be to provide our very successful programs and services way upstream, to prevent system involvement. The prospects are exciting!
Category: Voice of our CEO
Here we are, in the 21st century, and yet, we are still operating our Child Welfare Services (CWS) system on outdated, residual principles and practices from the 19th century! Seriously. Consequently, we have done little to mitigate child abuse and neglect (now called “maltreatment”), or enhance the wellbeing of children and families across culture. It is time for a change.
Let me cut to the chase – Family Care Network needs the help and support from our Community now more than ever. The unprecedented, negative impact of the Covid-19 virus is affecting all of our lives, but especially the most vulnerable and fragile members of our community. For some, the pandemic is a matter of inconvenience, but for many, it is a matter of survival, securing the basic necessities of life, or even life-and-death.
I am a firm believer that there is a “child” in all of us. Regardless of our age, we all love to play and have fun. But, if you have lost that inner child, then I’m going to try to revive it back to life. One of the healthiest things that we can do in the midst of this Covid-19 storm is to balance the ledgers filled with negativity and fear, with good old-fashioned fun!
I have heard it said, “Family is not an important thing–it is Everything!” Having a solid, loving family, however you define “family”, and no matter how imperfect it may be, is a gift. It is an invaluable treasure that you want never to lose. Our Family, clan or tribe, not only shapes who we are and what we believe, it also gives us identity, strength, protection and repose. Humans need other humans to survive. Family is the premier institution for shaping and nurturing individual and community health. Family really is Everything!
I recently took the time to watch the painful documentary on PBS about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. It was sobering. There were so many similarities to that pandemic and our current, Covid-19 crisis, but, fortunately, there were many dissimilarities as well. In 1918, folks feared that we were on the verge of the extinction of the human race. They didn’t have the medical or scientific knowledge or ability, as we do, to fully understand the virus or how to deal with it.
This past week has been disturbing and heart wrenching as our country has exploded in reaction to gross injustices and continued racism. For me, it brought back memories of heading to San Clemente Beach in 1965 to go surfing, and passing what seemed like miles of troops heading the other way en route to Los Angeles to quell the Watts riots. That was 55 years ago, but I remember it well. Though I lived some distance away from the tumult, the smoke of those fires could be clearly seen. And, like today, what started in Watts spread rapidly across the country.
World War II is an ugly stain on human history. Millions of lives were lost as a result of the lust for power, sick ideology, blatant disregard for the sanctity of life, and the dehumanization of others. Nonetheless, it served as a rallying point for mobilizing the USA and our allies to vanquish evil and renew a sense of stability and sanity.
May is National Foster Care Month –– a time when we get to celebrate foster parents, a group of caring, committed people who are too often underappreciated! I count myself amongst the very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with foster families since the early 1970s. I certainly appreciate and admire all of the Amazing Families that have served children under the Family Care Network umbrella over the last 32 years. As our organization has grown, I have unfortunately been further and further removed from the day in and day out contact with our foster families.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain. These past few months have been a storm, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to pass quickly. I think it’s time that we accept our circumstances, make critical life adjustments and start “dancing!”