The readers’ forum

Resolve to advocate for the most vulnerable

 

I sincerely appreciate the March 8 Other Views page that included three impressive voices addressing the important issue of foster care.

The professional perspectives of Jessica Allen (Guardian ad Litem) and Candice Maze (Foster Care Review) provided valuable insights into the vital role volunteers play in the effort to ensure a high level of community involvement in the workings of the child dependency system.

While not every foster child is safe, secure and on a path of success, the watchful eyes and open ears of well-supervised volunteers in these two programs make a significant difference every day for the community’s most vulnerable young people.

It was the voice of the foster teen, while unidentified for privacy and protection, that most moved me.

This brave young person’s clear “declaration of dependence” on the good works of a caring community is an inspiration for all of us who strive to achieve positive social and educational goals for our children.

To quote this bright, young advocate: “Foster care is not an issue that can be solved by one person, but by many. In order to provide love and promise in a child’s life it is important that the people who can, step up and take a walk alongside a child in foster care. It is not the system that recreates a child’s life, but the people working within it.”

While we know that horrible mistakes are made, often with tragic results, let’s not ignore the many successes achieved when we work together.

As we advocate reform of inadequate laws, invest wisely in preventive and treatment services for families, and shore up our capacity to respond competently to abuse and neglect, let’s resolve to hear the call to action of the voices who know, care and do most for the least among us.

I applaud the quality foster and adoptive parents, counselors and judges, service administrators, dedicated professionals and community volunteers for the contributions they make to our children’s lives.

Like our fighting forces on foreign soil, these domestic security forces deserve our respect, support and admiration.

Jack Levine, founder,

4Generations Institute,

Tallahassee

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