Coral was 11 years old when her mom, recently incarcerated, decided to relinquish her parental rights, putting Coral’s care into the hands of the state. While Coral’s life up to this point was not like her friends’ lives--her “home” was either their car or a motel room, and Coral’s mom slept most days because she’d be up all night with her friends, leaving Coral to feed and take care of herself--it was the only life she had ever known. It was familiar.
Welcome to our Blog! We post weekly articles written on a variety of topics from a variety of people, including our staff, volunteers, community members, and our parents and youth. The Voices of our Blog are opinion pieces, reflecting the diverse experiences and viewpoints of our community. These articles are not meant to represent the views of everyone at FCNI, our Board of Directors and staff, or present a definitive policy statement, but are designed to be informative and thought-provoking.
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!
Here we are, in the 21st century, and yet, we are still operating our Child Welfare Services (CWS) system on outdated, residual principles and practices from the 19th century!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.
My early childhood was fairly normal. I lived with my mom, step-dad and older sister in Santa Barbara. My mom was a surfer, so most of my childhood was spent at the beach. When I was eight years old, my home life started to change. Around this time, we moved to Santa Maria in order to save money. Unfortunately, our housing situation was stable for only about a year before we started experiencing homelessness off and on, often sleeping in our car. When I neared adolescence, my step-dad left and it was just my mom, sister and me.
I’ll go ahead and admit it. Wraparound is my favorite program of FCNI’s. I just love it. I love that it is truly a collaborative effort that involves a lot of different agencies--the Department of Social Services, FCNI, Behavioral Health, schools, probation, as well as individuals who are hand-selected by families to be part of their support team.