From Executive Director Jane Lyons
It’s impossible to advocate on behalf of individual children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and not look for ways to mitigate additional harms caused as a result of that involvement. Friends of Children listens to children, youth, and families sharing what they need when involved with the state’s foster care system. We observe where systems are “stuck,” and as a result, children are stuck. We advocate for individual children when services are unavailable or denied. And, when the culture of a system is focused on reporting rather than supporting, we look to change the system.
This is my last introduction to Fostering Change. On June 30th, I am retiring with the knowledge that Friends of Children has had a significant influence on shaping policy discussions for children across the state. Never have we taken the words of our motto truth/action/change lightly. We apply this philosophy with intention to every facet of our work. Starting with truth, we have worked to educate policy makers and the public on the child welfare experience in Massachusetts, and its poor impact on the children and families it should well serve. We support actions to change the status quo, and we call for the bar to be set higher.
We ask the tough questions of ourselves and others, and we link arms with those impacted by their own lived expertise. One challenging, unanswered, fundamental question is:
Why, when national experts and many other states are issuing clarion calls to dramatically change antiquated and broken child welfare systems, isn’t Massachusetts?
Truth. Action. Change. The importance of this process cannot be overlooked.
I strongly encourage you to read this issue to learn more about our work and its importance to the tens of thousands of children and families who are our neighbors and need us to be aware of the truth and to act. Because, for them, things not only have to change, but we have to get it right!
For the children,