Blaming the Workforce is Easy and Useless. Bettering It Is Hard and Transformative.
Early in my career, a supervisor told me that the dirty little secret in child welfare was that the system tends to reward those who persevere in their jobs by pushing them further away from kids and families.
Moving Child Welfare from A Reaction to A Response
One benefit of an extended career in child welfare settings is that you begin to understand the concept of capacity. I’m not offering this as sage advice or cynical wisdom, nor as a pup social worker who is naïve and imagines that every family and every system can be set on the right track.
Compromise Is Good, Except When It Comes to Ethics
Many years ago, I served in Pennsylvania state government and among my responsibilities was the development and implementation of family resource centers (FRCs), which are community-based family support programs that provide easily accessible services in a culturally relevant manner.
A Return to The ‘Use of Self’
In the world of family support and prevention programming, we are hearing a great deal about the inclusion of people with lived experiences. It has appeared on our radar screens as if it is a new concept or an innovation unique to this moment.
Building A Respectful Approach to Child Safety
In child welfare we are prone to distraction. Through the decades we’ve become excited by multiple trends and legislation addressing safety, family preservation and permanency, assuming they would resolve the complexities of our work with families.
A Community Meets to Rethink Child Welfare Together
In “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the idea that in America, our historical class divisions always influence, linger and manipulate the present. He wrote in the novel’s last paragraph:
Gatsby believed in the green light … that year by year recedes before us.
Biden Child Welfare: A Day One Culture for the Next Four Years
As we consider a new federal child welfare team, we should recognize the exceptional work of the current Children’s Bureau, especially its leaders Jerry Milner and David Kelly. They advanced smart, progressive and commonsense policy and practice designs for child welfare agencies focused on the development of community-based family support efforts.
Good Fortune Is Not a Solid Foundation for Child Welfare Services
Serendipity is the phenomenon of discovering something valuable that is unexpected, like a forgotten $10 bill in your jacket pocket, or finding the love of your life through a chance meeting.
Moving Away from Top-Down Leadership in Child Welfare
The trust level between child welfare leaders and local partners will be a key factor in predicting success for any neighborhood-based family support efforts emerging from a Family First Act planning process.
Key to Family First Act Success: Building Community Trust
Several years ago, I attended a Jesuit Leadership institute. The trainer shared a quote that I found relevant to my work at Casey Family Programs with public child welfare agencies and community-based primary prevention programs.
Child Welfare and The Fight Against Despair
Classic experiments in the 1970’s demonstrated that it’s not so much adverse events that result in deleterious consequences, but rather a lack of perceived control over those events. Subjects in these experiments who learned that they could not influence their challenging situations eventually gave up trying.