Nobody can dispute the value to a child, whether in the foster care system or not, of having a Permanent Family. In my 40 something years of working within the Child Welfare System, the public policy shift to Safety, Wellbeing and Permanency has been fantastic – absolutely in the best interest of kids within the system. In the past 15 years, the number of children and youth in the foster care system has dropped by around 27%; much of this attributable to moving kids quickly to permanency.
Category: Voice of our CEO
One of the founding principles of the Family Care Network is to “always do the very best for the children and youth we serve.” Key staff and I are always on the hunt for the most effective interventions, best practices and program models which will bring the most benefit to our clients; to enhance the wellbeing of children and families.
There has been much written and spoken about domestic violence and child abuse recently due to recent incidents involving NFL players. It’s unfortunate that it takes a sensationalized incident to bring into view a chronic societal problem; but, that’s not surprising being that it hits very close to home for a lot of people. You know, out of sight, out of mind. Incidentally, October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
As we come to the end of September I want to draw attention to the fact that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of September as National Recovery Month. People’s natural tendency is think about substance abuse, being that we all know somebody “in recovery” or that we wish were. But, this title actually encompasses a much bigger picture– it’s an acknowledgment that humans can heal…it is a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit!
It’s hard to think about, but I have been working with Foster Families for over 40 years. It goes without saying, this is a group of individuals that I hold in the highest esteem because each one of them has made an indelible, positive impact on the life of a foster child. I have found no better, no more consistent example of sacrificial-giving and life-changing impact than what is accomplished by foster parenting. It is a real labor of love.
About twenty six years ago, a group of us sat around discussing how we should be telling our story and communicating better to our foster families and community. Mind you, two plus decades of technology evolution seems like a century – so back then the newsletter was the avant-garde communications tool! Voila, the “Family Care-Connection” was born. And, this was to be no ordinary newsletter; this was to become a tapestry of creativity, with information artfully woven into an entertaining monthly masterpiece. The results were rather amazing, definitely overwhelming and costly, but also really fun and effective. This newsletter turned into a mini-magazine, replete with information such as:
Memorial Day is an excellent reminder that nothing is accomplished without sacrifice. Obviously, there is no greater sacrifice than giving one’s life for our country; but this day should also serve as a reminder to honor the tens of thousands of unsung heroes who sacrifice day in and day out to make life better for others; folks whose lives come, pass by and fade away; while there impact and contributions live on and on.
Americans love to celebrate stuff; special months, special days, special events, special causes, holidays… just about anything can be and is celebrated. This is good; celebration heartens the sole. So, can I invite you to celebrate with me an invisible class of amazing people; a group of selfless, hard-working, passionate folks who are not really on our radar screens, surely not the medias’; individuals who make life-changing impact every day in the lives of hundreds of children–Foster Parents!
Let us imagine for a moment, that your lifelong dream has been to help medically fragile children. You earned an advanced degree and you were lucky enough to get a job at a specialized Children’s Hospital. The pay was decent and the work, while challenging, was very rewarding. After several years, you were keenly aware of two things: one, you never receive a pay increase, and two, the needs of the children being served were becoming much greater. However, you continue steadfastly because of your heartfelt dedication to young lives in need of healing.
May is National Foster Care Month and our Foster Parents deserve great appreciation – they do an amazing, mostly unrecognized and unrewarded job. There aren’t too many folks willing to open up their home to a complete stranger who has been traumatized, who may have serious mental and/or emotional needs, or who presents some very challenging, difficult to manage behaviors. However, thankfully thousands of families still decide to foster parent with incredible results. And we should all be very thankful that they do.