I have been on the job for three months now, and most of that time, I have been listening to the voices of our members, volunteers, and donors. I am deeply appreciative of the time people have been willing to share with me during these important listening sessions.
The meetings have given me the opportunity to hear firsthand about the challenges and opportunities facing our system and what you see as the League's role is in helping its members do an even better job of improving the life circumstances of children and families.
Halfway through the listening sessions, I saw clear patterns emerging. One of the most consistent themes is that all of you are dealing with an incredible level of change among the children, families, and communities you are serving, and in the nature and level of resources you have to provide these services.
Feature articles in this issue of Children's Voice touch on each of these themes. In "Child Welfare and the Challenge of New Americans," we learn about one of the many changes affecting families in this country and the challenges to our service delivery model--an increasing number of the children and families we serve are immigrants. As the article points out, the Latino population alone has grown 61% since 1990. In many cities, child welfare case managers are addressing the needs of people from as many as 20 different countries.
Despite society's changing demographics, child welfare practitioners often are unfamiliar with state and federal policies affecting immigrant children and families and are also affected by their inexperience dealing with people from so many different cultures and speaking so many different languages.
"Child Welfare and Technology" touches on how child welfare agencies need to increase their confidence and investment in new technologies that will make our organizations more efficient and improve the lives of workers and their clients. The innovative use of technology is one of the many ways our members can respond to the changes we face as a system.
Information about national partnerships that address both of these issues is the bright side of these articles. A new organization, Stewards of Change, along with the Yale School of Management, is bringing together a team of business, technology, and child welfare leaders to explore better ways to apply emerging technologies to child welfare management and practice. To work on strong child welfare responses to migration issues, leading organizations in child welfare, including CWLA, have formed the Migration and Child Welfare National Network. I commend all of the agencies, organizations, and businesses involved in these efforts. We face these challenges collectively; there is no need to face them alone.
What I've learned, very importantly, from the listening sessions is the huge amount of expertise, knowledge, innovation, and just shear persistence that exists among our members as you find ways to respond to challenges and opportunities and to better serve children and families. We want to hear more about the successful practices of our members and our friends, and we want to find additional ways of making sure we do even more to share these successes. I look forward to continuing to listen and learn all I can from you, with the objective of increasing the value of CWLA to its members and improving the life chances of all children.
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