There is a lot of good thinking going on in the foster care worlds in Los Angeles and Columbus. In LA the Center for Strategic Partnerships is breaking open the way we define social services, to include a wider range of organizations and broader thinking. You can read about it here. In Columbus, recommendations for important change followed a governor’s advisory council and can be read here.
We are a small organization and we do work on the ground—not policy. But we benefit from the research and recommendations gathered from people who have personal experience in the system, those who work in it, academics and others who care deeply and offer their expertise.
We may not rewrite policy and regulations, but we do integrate best practices and pay serious attention when we know there is injustice and trauma introduced by the system.
Many of the recommendations, we are happy to say, are built into our model.
Breaking down silos: Too often we all work in our own lanes, as if kids removed from their primary families are only impacted by the foster system.
2N works across sectors, with partners, because we know that the child is not in a vacuum. That is why we are partnering with Maryhaven’s addiction treatment center in Columbus, CASA, and Buckeye Ranch to foster kids whose parents are in residential treatment for addiction. That way we can best ensure on-going relationships between each parent and child. We can only do that if we work together—the partner community’s foster families, the treatment center, and the courts.
Addressing Racism is the System: Brown and Black kids are removed from their primary families at an alarming high rate.
2N is not made up of families whose primary objective is adoption. Our families’ primary objective is whatever is best for the child, even when letting go of that child really hurts. Our families take the risk of heartbreak because they know that is what kids suffer—and better we take the risk and soothe their souls. This means working closely with social workers and maintaining a relationship with the birth families to the best of our ability. Was the child removed for a reason that was circumstantial? This is why we have phenomenal partners like Change Reaction who address these circumstantial needs as early as possible to prevent disruption.
Strengthening Out of Home Care: When kids are in foster care, whether short-term or long-term, foster families need support. We need more loving foster and kinship-care families. And all those families need support—from each other, their communities and from experts.
2N arises from community, so more people feel confident enough to foster and when they do they have circles of support. This is emotional and daily practical support. It’s also professional expertise. When a foster family needs, for example, speech therapy for a child, they don’t have to wait to get a spot from a county service or pay extraordinary fees for private support. They can get guidance from a certified speech therapist in their synagogue or church to at least bridge them to the public services they need.
2N is no nonsense. We want kids in the best possible families for them with the services and our support they and their families need. And we will continue to live these best practices in our current communities and build our infrastructure so they can be lived in cities, counties and states nationwide.
Thank you for keeping informed about our work and supporting us in our growth!
Susan Silverman, 2N CEO