We have all been there, seated in a crowded restaurant flooded with the tumult of voices amalgamated into a decibel level so high it is untenable, making it impossible to have a normal conversation. People are talking, but no one is really listening. It is just noise. This serves as a perfect metaphor for our legislative process – the din of voices and wagging tongues, but no one is really listening! Unless you are one of the favored few who can buy ears to listen, you just become part of the noise!
Category: Voice of our CEO
I recently wrote a blog entitled, “Every Now and Then” based on the wonderful quote by Leonardo da Vinci, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” So, I followed my own advice and went on a three and a half weeks vacation to France with my wife, youngest son and his wife. I’d like to share some lessons from this experience.
Many of you know the story behind my beginning the Family Care Network. One of the driving forces behind it was my frustration of working so many years within the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare systems and the horrible, unconscionable way foster youth were exited from the system--“There’s the door; have a nice life.” Youth were basically forced out on their own, some taken directly to homeless shelters. They had no family, no skills, no resources and were given no support whatsoever.
Stop right now. Lift up your hands and inspect them carefully. What story do they tell? For some of us with more than a few years behind us, they may be scarred, twisted with arthritis or calloused from years of work. While for others, they may be beautiful, well-manicured and happy appendages. Hands are essential. They are a critical connection to others, to our environment, to our success, to our pleasure--to our survival! For a moment, imagine your life without your hands!
It must be my imagination--at least I wish is was--but it seems that time is vanishing at an ever increasing rate. It’s like the more I accomplish, the more there is yet to be done. How disgusting it is to reach Friday, only to wish it was Monday because there is too much left on my “to do” list. And it can’t really be Friday, wasn’t it just Sunday? What a convoluted picture. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the human services business--an unfortunate side effect of life!
We have reached the end of May and National Foster Care Awareness Month, a well-deserved acknowledgment of the incredible, selfless work done by the thousands of individuals and families providing family-based treatment, care and supervision. Having worked with Foster Parents for over 40 years, I have unwavering respect for these children’s champions, along with some strong opinions about our foster care system.
I named the “Family Care Network” with a specific intent. FAMILY is our most important social institution and every effort should be made to support and strengthen families. A society exhibiting the disintegration of Family, is a society at great risk! The health of families is the most important ingredient to a healthy civil society. The stronger our family structure, the stronger and healthier we are as a nation. There is no disagreement--every child needs a healthy family! Let’s do our best to make sure this happens.
As I stated in Part One, America’s system for caring for foster children is in serious need of change. The system is based on archaic practices, often contrary to the best interest of children and contradictory to current science; and by and large, does more damage than benefit to children! But, I do believe there is the will and opportunity to improve our Child Welfare-Foster Care system, and here is how we should do it.
America’s system for caring for foster children is in serious need of a change. Our current system is based on archaic practices, often contrary to the best interest of children and contradictory to current science; and by and large, does more damage than benefit to children!
As we conclude National Social Worker Appreciation Month, I would like to present another picture of the Family Care Network, and the environment in which our Social Workers and other clinical staff operate. As a Human Service Organization, how we SERVE is mission-critical. But for us this term has a double entendre, SERVE is also an acronym for the domains that define how we serve, plan, evaluate and implement important changes. In essence, SERVE is the framework that supports the Family Care Network.