Tirelessly endeavoring to enhance our collective quality of life, promoting social justice and improving the wellbeing of the community--this is Social Work. “SOCIAL” relates to the broader collective community; and “WORK” originates from the relentless efforts of “worker” bees and ants. Principles of social justice, human rights and dignity, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are embedded in the practice and profession of Social Work.
Category: Voice of our CEO
Foster Care Reform has been a smoking hot issue the last few years in California and at the federal level. Of course, in my 40 something years of working in the foster care system, it’s always been an issue, and for good reason.
There are two distinct perspectives on why the Foster Care System needs to be reformed: one, from the Human Services perspective, the system does not effectively serve children and youth; and, two, from the legislative-bureaucratic perspective, it costs too much.
Relationships. There has been much written on the topic of relationships. Ranging from difficult to understand clinical research articles to blogs, books and websites, you can find information on every type of relationship in just about every type of format. Romantic relationships, family relationships, work relationships, casual relationships, nurturing relationships, dysfunctional relationships, healthy relationships, abusive relationships… which can only lead us to one conclusion—Relationships are Important!
Two days before Christmas, I witnessed a wonderful demonstration of generosity and compassion. A local automotive dealer, Mike McCarthy, donated a minivan full of toys to one of our families with three small children who have been working their way out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency. It is really a heartwarming story. For the most part, the mom had been raised in the foster care system. As a teenager, she participated in the Family Care Network’s Transitional Age Youth programs where she learned enough skills to venture out on her own.
Yesterday, I received news that a long time, former SLO County Social Worker passed away; her name was Marilyn Stein. Marilyn was a great friend and supporter of the Family Care Network and probably one of the most influential individuals in the development of several of our core service programs. I will forever feel indebted to her for her contributions, guidance and encouragement.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote, “Home is the nicest word there is!” I wish this was true for everyone; but on any given day, more than 400,000 American children have no home to call their own. Think for a moment about “Home”--what that means to you and what it would be like if you had no place to call Home?
There is a very cryptic, often misunderstood passage in the New Testament which I would like to use to illustrate a point: The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23) Understanding this excerpt is not difficult. Jesus was embellishing on a passage from the Book of Deuteronomy regarding greed and generosity.
The potential for cruelty embedded within human nature is repulsive, especially when someone is perceived as being “different.” You need to venture no further than the schoolyard to see this concept manifested. Children can be brutal in their treatment of other children who they perceive as “deviating from the norm.” Teasing, taunting, bullying and outright physical aggression occurs far too often, resulting in serious trauma and emotional damage.
Thousands of children and youth across the nation have begun or will soon begin school. Sadly, for foster children and youth, this ritual represents a foreboding process invoking fears of rejection, ostracization and trauma. For most foster children, school is not a fun or engaging place.
When was the last time you heard a political talking head say anything about helping homeless families? Probably never. One political party continually demonizes these people, mischaracterizing them as lazy parasites who just want to live off of taxpayer dollars. Shame on these heartless morons because nothing could be further from the truth!
Let’s create a clearer picture about homeless families, the awful impact homelessness has on children and some strategies to address this problem.