June 3rd, 1998 was the best day of my life, next to the birth of my children and marrying the man of my dreams, of course. On that third day of June, I met and moved in with my new foster family. I didn’t know it at the time, but one day Desiree, Cloy and their two beautiful daughters, Shelby and Kaylee, would become my forever family.
It’s a new month…and it’s not just any ol’ month—it’s May! At Family Care Network, May is one of our favorite months. Why? Because every day in May (all 31 one of ‘em) we get to two celebrate two important National Awareness Campaigns—National Foster Care and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. You may think that these two campaigns really have very little to do with each other. But guess what? You’d be wrong. Because this May, FCNI is hosting its 12th Annual Miracle Miles for Kids 10K Walk/Run.
It is no small statement that Volunteers are the backbone of FCNI’s success. Unequivocally, we could not do the work we do, impact the lives we impact, without individuals from our community coming alongside us, dedicating their time, energy and resources to helping us in what seems like countless ways.
Recent events in the National media and celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s. Birthday have resulted in some interesting and revealing thoughts and conversations in my multiracial family.
It started with a short vacation in Southern California where I found myself and my children walking a crowed path along the beach. As I people watched, I realized that my children were beautiful spots of color in what seemed to be a sea of white, which I am a part of. Then it happened. All of my children simultaneously broke the law. In blatant disregard for the clearly posted sign reading “Keep Off Grass”, they were running and chasing each other on said grass.
As a Mom, when I heard that April is officially “The Month of the Child”, my first thought was, “’The Month of the Child’??? Isn’t every month, even every day for the child?! How come Moms and Dads get only one day out of the whole year?”
Wow, I guess I was feeling a little sensitive about this subject!
Nelson Mandela said it simply and profoundly, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." In a country as wealthy, ingenious and resourceful as the United States, one would think that our Care and Treatment of Children would be stellar, the very best. But that’s just not the case. Truth is, using Mr. Mandela’s axiom, I think America has lost its “soul.”
Since inception, the Family Care Network has utilized an annual collaborative strategic planning process. This process becomes the foundation for the development of our Annual Strategic Plan, which FCNI’s short and long term goals. This process gets kicked-off with an annual all-day, all-staff strategic planning meeting, where various workgroups of staff, Board members , volunteers and other agency partners openly discuss current priority topics as well as dream up big ideas for FCNI’s future.
In the summer of 2012, the State Legislature enacted SB 1013 which mandated the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to launch a broad-based, stakeholder process to determine how to reform California’s foster care system by creating a “continuum of programs and services that promote positive outcomes for children and families”, and provide a comprehensive recommendation to the Legislature by the end of 2014. Thus, began an intense two and half year process in which I was honored to be a participant.
March is Social Worker Appreciation month and as a long time foster parent I wanted to weigh in on my experience with these intrepid, hardworking souls. Let’s be honest, no one becomes a Social Worker to make big bucks or to become famous. They do it because they want to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Most of the Social Workers I have worked with over the past 25 years have had 25 to 30 children on their caseloads and yet they make sure to see each child at least once a month—no matter where s/he might be.
I have often wondered how unbearable life would be without the skill, commitment, tenacity and hard work of Social Workers, position embedded in so many essential activities of our society. They work with children and seniors, the sick and impaired, victims and the exploited, the unemployed and those in recovery, schoolchildren, the dying and the mourning; in hospitals, in schools, in impoverished areas, in remote villages and our metropolitan areas.