Child Welfare in the 21st Century

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Posts Tagged ‘election’

As the World Turns….

Posted by lboyd544 on November 7, 2014

Yesterday was a tough day.

News outlets reporting terrible voter turnout on Tuesday. Regardless of whether you are thrilled or devastated about specific races, a 30-40% voter turn out nationally is alarming and shameful.
Speculation now swirls that with the shift in some states from Democratic Governor to Republican Governor, expansion of Medicaid for those making 133-400% of poverty may be at risk of repeal.

AND I received calls from three sets of desperate parents looking for a placement for their teenagers (two are boys, one is a girl) sons who are shortly to be dismissed from three different inpatient facilities and who cannot return to their biological homes due to fear of danger toward family members via anger, depression, or sexual acting out. None of these youth are in the custody of the state. These families cannot meet the needs of their children, although none will give up and each wants to participate in therapy with their youth….hopefully while the teen is in a therapeutic foster home. If you are in this field in child welfare, you know as you read this that available placements in therapeutic foster homes are a premium. I have 100 state custody youth on a waiting list in Oklahoma!

I am flummoxed. I am depressed. I am worried.

As a citizenry, have we become so deflated or so complacent that we do not acknowledge the freedom, privilege and responsibility of representative democracy? Can’t we handle a little rain and get out to vote?
Do people only run for office as a next job or next stepping stone forward versus desiring to truly lead, offer policy and change ideas, and commit to the fabric of this country? Are they willing to risk election or defeat only when they can reasonable predict the outcome ahead of time: incumbency, open-seat, money, “party machine”?
Do we not accept mental illness as we would any illness, so that families struggling with children’s need can reach out and find services and supports before the entire family pays an unaffordable price?
Why do we only have passion for our own kids and not open our homes to those youth needing the interest and investment (if not the ‘love’) of healthy, caring adults through temporary foster care?
How is that we have become so litigious that public child welfare goes far beyond ‘best interests of the child’ in accepting foster families and creates more barriers than pathways through background checks, references, home studies, and training approaching a job application to the FBI!

I am basically a “Pollyanna”. I am an optimist. However, yesterday (and perhaps today) was a tough day.

But not nearly so tough as the day(s) these families and youth are facing!

We must hear these pleas. It has to bother us. They have to matter. We are America, aren’t we?

Posted in Child Welfare | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Polling Data Showing Strong Support for Investments in Children and Youth

Posted by lboyd544 on October 23, 2014

The Children’s Leadership Council has released the results of a new national public opinion poll that finds that an overwhelming 79 percent of Americans favor investing more federal funds in programs that improve the lives of children and youth across the age spectrum from birth to adulthood. And by a strong 18-point margin, Americans say that investing more in children’s health, education and well-being (54%) should be a higher priority today than reducing taxes (36%).

These findings are timely, coming as they do on the eve of national elections and during a period when the majority of American families are contending with a slow economic recovery and growing inequality. Nearly one in five children and young adults in the U.S. live in poverty, and many struggle to make ends meet. As advocates, we know that government investments can work—this month’s Census data show that federal anti-poverty programs like SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit lifted millions of children out of poverty last year. The new poll results indicate that the majority of Americans also believe such supports are essential in helping families navigate today’s economy.

As Congress makes decisions on the federal budget and debates the worthiness and effectiveness of federal programs, it is our hope that these findings will help you and your organizations make the case for investing—not cutting—critical services for children, youth and families.

To make it easy to share this information, in educating elected officials, the media and others, including:
A memo and PowerPoint presentation on the poll and its results
Sample social media posts and shareable graphics
A customizable blog post, with quotes
Short blurbs for your site and e-newsletters
A recording of the researchers walking through the findings
These and more are available at bit.ly/CLCpoll.

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“Pausing” is a Good Thing

Posted by lboyd544 on November 13, 2012

As of today, our nation is one week past election day. I was anxious to post last Wednesday. Had I done so, I would have pleaded with Americans to pull together and to respect and utilize our differences, not our wins or losses.  The urge to post continued and had I done so late in the week, I would have commented on the emerging skepticism that the initial kumbaya moment of national Party leaders was all but done. Had I posted on Sunday, I would have urged President Obama, yes our President whose office we must respect regardless of political affiliation, to lead with strength of conviction and clarity of purpose and not be mired in the thicket of political posturing by those who already are protecting themselves in the next election cycle.
I am glad I paused.
Indeed, each of the potential postings I did not write had merit, in my opinion. Then the sea wave of ‘urgency’ and robust media attention gravitated to the personal indiscretions of General Petraeus and as of today, potentially, General John Allen.
Again, I am glad I paused. President Obama will not be President four years from now; news mongers will latch on to the next soap opera by next week (if not sooner!); our elected leaders will confront the Fiscal Cliff in a bipartisan manner.
The most meaningful outcomes of last week’s elections will not be lost on whim or news cycles. For those of us who ever doubted, the people have spoken and have proven the honor to be trusted. The United States has changed (or returned to its founding principles depending on your point of view)! Minorities will have a place and a voice in America whether identified by ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, or ability/disability. Health care reform is underway. Voters do care and will turn out to make their votes count. Polling, robocalls, and to an astonishing – and welcomed – degree, money cannot buy elections. Parties are confronted to address their principles, not their talking heads. The greatness of America as the land of opportunity and diversity is reclaimed by the voters!
As a child growing up in North Carolina, I never expected society to confront the evils of tobacco nor the injustice of segregation. Eventually the people prevailed more powerful than the lobbyist and the partisan politician . Today the Hispanic child, the gay child, are the child of illegal immigrant families are surely wondering if America will be a place that addresses their circumstances fairly and legally. It is with confidence – from our voices and our votes last week – that I am know the answer is ‘yes’. America is strong and will remain so when the people speak.

Posted in Events, News and politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Election Day is upon us!

Posted by lboyd544 on October 31, 2012

Yesterday I attended a fascinating Forum sponsored by and for members of Leadership Oklahoma. The guest presenter for the afternoon was journalist Bill Bishop, author of the best selling book the Big Sort. In his book, Mr. Bishop uses demographic data from across the country to show how Americans have been sorting ourselves into extremely homogeneous communities in the past 30 years. Most disconcerting, he demonstrates how dangerous to the basic tenets of our country and to democracy this sorting is. We ‘sort’ on the basis of education, income, and lifestyle. We choose who and what we will believe, and we have become so ideologically inbred and polarized that we don’t understand or communicate with others who may live only blocks away, much less with those who are of different ethnic, religious, political, educational, or experiential backgrounds.

While we may think of the ‘world at our fingertips’ due to the advances of technology and the easy access to the web, smart phones, and TV channels, our worlds individually have actually shrunk to a few like-minded neighbors or civic groups who think like we do, choose like we do, and live like we do. As a result, extremism in ideology and politics has grown; tolerance of differences has diminished.

The most scary result of this sorting, which we see on any day of the year, is our inability as a nation to act collectively to tackle and resolve urgent challenges: budget, spending, health care, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and so on. The data supports this premise from Mr. Bishop that politics is no longer about solving the nation’s problems; it is about showing ideological commitment to a political party.

There is a crucial election next week. Will you vote on ideology? Will you educate yourself on the candidates thoroughly from various objective references, not your ‘favorites’? Will you study state questions that might be on your ballot?

Or will you vote, as we seem to be doing way too much, on innuendo, prejudice, emotion, party….fear….anger?

America is the land of opportunity. At least it was once. Yet if we are now ‘sorted’ and intolerant, and I believe we are, we must cast our votes for President and all candidates from a lens of who will listen to various voices, who will keep in mind those who seem to have no voice (the children, the poor…), and who will work from the center and reach out to all sides for discussion and consideration?

Sadly, being a ‘moderate’, i.e. governing from the middle, is rarely successful any more in elections. Ideology gets the money and the votes.

We need courageous and informed voters to secure our country’s future and to return us to a country welcoming differences as richness, not imposition. Please ‘go carefully into this dark night’.

Posted in Events | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Make Your Vote Count

Posted by lboyd544 on October 12, 2012

 

On November 6, 2012, Oklahoma voters will select a U.S. president and five representatives to the U.S. Congress. This election will affect Oklahoma children. But since they can’t vote, they need you to make their voices heard.

Why? Because children in Oklahoma face serious challenges.

According to the most recent published data reports:

  • 23% of Oklahoma’s children live in poverty
  • 11% of Oklahoma’s children have no health insurance
  • 7248 Oklahoma children (SFY 2010) were confirmed victims of abuse and neglect, and
  • 36% of Oklahoma’s fourth graders score below Basic Reading levels

It’s more important than ever for all of us to know where the candidates stand when it comes to our children and the programs that support their growth and development. Ask questions and cast your ballots wisely. Your vote can make a difference to you, your child, and to all America’s children. After all, when we invest in kids, we invest in America.

So what can you do?

Ask questions. Get the facts.

What will candidates do to:

  • ensure children are protected from violence in their homes, schools, and communities?
  • make sure every child has access to the best available medical and dental care?
  • make sure children have a home and get enough to eat?
  • help children get high-quality early care and education?
  • see that school-age children are safe, supervised, and learning after school?

Register to vote. Encourage others to register.

Learn more about the Issues affecting children and families.

Talk to the candidates, your friends, relatives, co-workers, and child service providers.

Vote on or before November 6, 2012.                 

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