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.
2N does not rewrite policy and regulations. We e bring those best practices to the reality on the ground so that kids, families and society are served.
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 with partners across sectors 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.
Addressing Racism is the System: Brown and Black kids are removed from their primary families at an alarming 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 it is worth our own sadness to help 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—from each other, their communities and relevant experts.
2N arises from community. So more people feel supported enough to foster. This means emotional and practical support, like 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 sessions. They can get guidance from a certified speech therapist in their synagogue or church long-term or to at least bridge them until they get the public services they need.
2N is no nonsense. We want kids in the best possible families for them with the services and support they and their families need. And we will continue to live these best practices in our current communities as well as build our infrastructure so they can be lived in cities, counties and states nationwide.
Susan Silverman, 2N CEO