It goes without saying, Social Workers are one of the most unappreciated, undervalued, underpaid and unacknowledged group of workers in our society. And yet, as I have previously written, every one of our lives is better because of them. Health and Human Services organizations like the Family Care Network could not perform our public benefit activities or positively change lives without the dedication, skill and passion of Social Workers, and we are only one of the multiple disciplines dependent on them.
Category: Voice of our CEO
We live in an era where many people possess a strong dislike, distrust or outright hostility towards government. I don’t really share this belief. I like policemen and firefighters. I value clean, safe air and water, food which is safe to eat, buying products which are safe to use, armed forces to protect us from hostility, beautiful national parks to visit, excellent public schools for our kids, good roads to drive on, protection from monopolies poised to rip us off, and services to the poor, most vulnerable and fragile members of our society. I don’t mind being made to buy car insurance or health insurance or paying my fair share of taxes because I know it benefits everyone.
Many of you know that the Family Care Network has commenced an extended celebration of our 30 year anniversary which will be August 21, 2017. For this campaign, I have written a story per year. Beginning the first week of January, we released our first year story and a supporting video, and will continue to do so weekly for 30 weeks. This is been a very fun and exciting project for a variety of reasons.
The New Year, 2017, has arrived with much trepidation. We have a new President taking office who is loathed, feared, or both, by many in our very polarized country. California is launching a new foster care “reform” wrought with flaws; so underfunded and ill thought out that it will take a miracle to produce any real reform. The majority of Americans are suffering from wage stagnation, with no indications from the corporate, business or public sectors of any relief or interest in fixing the problem. Our government has become an oligarchy, ruled by a few ultra-wealthy who have bought off our politicians. “Affordable Housing” has become an oxymoron, being unavailable and unachievable in most communities. America’s “safety net” is on the chopping block, including Socials Security, Medicare, healthcare and education. Congress doesn’t believe in global warming and wants to gut all of the controls to protect our air, water and environment. Nuclear proliferation is being proposed and long-term strategic alliances designed to keep the world safer, are in peril!
A week or so before Christmas, my wife decided to hire a cleaning service to help get prepared for several large gatherings and family coming to stay from out of town. The company she used was very reputable and had great referrals. During the period of time the cleaners were at work, my wife engaged one of them in conversation and what she learned was quite disturbing. This lady has two children, the oldest being 11, and was basically homeless. She indicated they spent most nights in the homeless shelter and couch surfed whenever they could. Sometimes they had to sleep in their car. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do for Christmas, where they would be or how to get gifts for her kids. Financially, she receives a fairly decent wage, but is being paid under the table. Consequently, she has no pay receipts needed to obtain housing. The lady indicated that she did not want to quit because well-paying jobs are scarce in our area and she felt she could not take care of her family on minimum wage. She is a citizen and is not, does she want to be, on public assistance. In this day and age, situations like this is are far too common. As the gap continues to grow between the rich and poor, and the middle class erodes away, we are losing one of the essentials of life – the ability for everyday folks to have a place to call HOME!
For a long time, our society has clung to the idea that we are somehow hardwired to be selfish. And while there’s no denying this fact, there is now compelling evidence to prove that the pull that we all feel from time to time to do something generous is a foundational part of our humanity. As it turns out, there is a science behind the power of giving--we are also wired to do good!
I have heard it said that life does not necessarily get easier or better; but we, in fact, become stronger and more resilient. As a person with a few years under my belt, I know this to be true. Perseverance leads to perfection, or at least gets us closer to it!
In the U.S., 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. Of these children, 101,666 are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of them will wait over three years in care before being adopted. So, come on folks--there are kids who need you! But not so quick—this is a decision which needs thorough research, careful deliberation and thoughtful decision making.
Given the polarity of our times--insolence, hate, intolerance, seething anger, hostility and overt disdain for others and government--I am reminded of another season in the history of our country where we were so torn asunder: the Civil War. How did we come to the place where civility, respect, decency and concern for the broader common good of all Americans has faded and, instead, is overshadowed by the darkness of self-interest? It is time for us to draw from the annals of our American history and remember the senseless—and avoidable--destruction and death caused by that great divide. It is time to make a purposeful, exerted effort to abate the destructive forces at work within our country at present, remembering the powerful words of President Abraham Lincoln “...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure half slave and half free...!”
“Family” is supposed to be a sanctuary; a place of safety, nurturing, healing, growing, sharing, loving, laughter and joy! But for too many, “Family” is none of these things. Instead, “Family” is a battleground, a bastion of physical and mental abuse; a place to avoid and run from, not a place to run towards. Domestic Violence is a blight on society; it is a strong indictment against our culture and our pervasive tolerance and acceptance of violence as a way of life. Domestic violence is merely a reflection of a much deeper, embedded pandemic sickness within our society.
Like with other forms of violence in our culture, our sensitivity to domestic violence has been substantially dulled, and we are no longer repulsed or grieved by it. So, let me provide a blunt reminder about the magnitude of Domestic Violence. (From www.ncadv.org)