I spent two days last week at a conference with leaders of children’s services agencies from across the country. As a new director with a background in the other services we provide, I wanted to immerse myself in conversations about best practices in public child welfare.
At the Casey Child Welfare Leadership Academy, held in Atlanta, we talked about strategic planning, leadership development and community engagement, and much more. Casey Family Programs is a Seattle-based organization that has worked since the 1960s advocating for improvements to foster care and ultimately to eliminate the need for it.
We talked quite a bit about the new Family First Prevention Services Act, the most significant foster care reform by the federal government in decades. The act requires agencies like ours to prioritize prevention, increase help for older kids in care as they transition to adulthood and give more support to kinship caregivers.
I’m proud to say we’re doing all of these things now and will continue to increase our efforts. Whether it’s a conference in Atlanta or Columbus, we learn new things. But we also walk away secure in the knowledge that Hamilton County JFS is a leader in child protection.
I am invigorated and enthusiastic about working with everyone in the region who is committed to preserving, empowering and strengthening families so children are safe from abuse, neglect and dependency.