Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 111

n Opinion Show up & Speak out GAIL JOHNSON VAUGHAN, DIRECTOR EMERITA AND CHIEF PERMANENCY OFFICER, FAMILIES NOW E and funding decisions are made, and in the halls where legislation is passed. Our legislation and policy work clear away system barriers to allow the direct service child wel- fare agencies to be successful. The work of Families NOW is foundational, changing the entire orientation of how the foster care system ought to work. We are advocates, working outside of the public view. Some say we are superheroes in the shadows. We are proud to have brought a focus on permanency as the pathway to the best outcomes for children in foster care. Our child wel- fare systems now understand they are failing if they keep young people in foster care rather than finding and sup- porting permanent families for them. Families NOW shows the state and counties how and helps our elected officials realize that they can’t afford not to provide these services. Because of our work, many names of Sacramento region youth are no longer called out on the Capitol steps — be- cause they now have permanent families. Like Raul, who was almost mute from trauma when he was adopted at age 14 and is now an Eagle Scout; Angel, who felt lost and hopeless until she met her adoptive mom Jeannie. Now she and her brother Stevie are reunited and adopted togeth- er in Jeannie’s home; or Diandra, who was adopted at age 16 despite her developmental delays. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, more children in our region and across California who can achieve permanent families thanks to our advocacy. Our work would have little value without our excellent nonprofit partners who work tirelessly to meet the needs of children in, or at risk of, foster care. You will meet many of them in the pages that follow. They help birth parents heal and grow so their children can return home; they ad- vocate for the children in court and provide mentors who give them love and wisdom; they recruit, train and support the families who step up as forever families for the children who wait. These agencies, as well as Families NOW, rely on charita- ble contributions to make their work possible. Our children are our future. Investing in those who had a rough start is investing in the quality of our lives as well as theirs. n | 2017 CAPITAL REGION CARES very November I lead a vigil on the steps of the Capi- tol, calling out names and ages from a list of California children waiting in foster care for permanent families. Last November, there were 38,000 names. I was joined by 82 other readers in 2016: civic leaders, legislators, media anchors, adoptive parents, child welfare leaders and pro- fessionals, you  Y]\[ۘ\Y]^[ˈXXXYYHY\YHو\Έ8'Z[YKYH M\ZKYHKYH MK[KYH ]\KYH M˸'B]XZ^HX\ [و\H[[[]\[H\X[[[Z[H^Hۙ܋[[XY[ݙHB\YH\YK[[^HYH]وH\[B[ۙHXHX\ XXZ[]Y\8%][YX\L\[و[H[HY[\[\ۈ܈XY H[[&\H܈\X[[[Z[Y\\Y BYH8'\Y\[YY'H8%0^]]\XYH[HKB\[ۋ[XZ\HXZ[XX[^Y\X[[HXBX\]Z[XH\H[[8%ZHH^]]ۙB[[YHY[܈[][[\][Y\[&]YܙݚYH\X[[H\X\܂[[][\HۜY\Y8'[YXx'H܈H^]]H[]8&\\][H\\\ZX[ۈYX[^B۸&][H[Z[H][ ]\۸&]]HHZH\ˈX\ٝ[XX[^Y\X[[H\X\]Z[[H\X[[[Z[H܈][H\\ ]\XH[]\XY]XKXܘ[Y[[H[[HY\H[ZY\[H][\HXX\ܚYZ\\B[][ۈ[Z[H\X[[Hܘ[KۛH] [ZKBY\\[Y[ݘ]]H[[Y]B][[ۜ]\[\Y[[\HXX\ݚY\›\[Y\H]\ۈ[\Y[\^YY[HوH\X\ˈH[H[]H\ L \[܈]\HYX\H[][]H[XZ[Y[\KXܘ[Y[[H\]]Y]Hܚ\Z[[^[\X\][Y]HY\[ܘ[[ ˈ H\[وH[[]BY[Z][܈YX\܈[ܙH[[][YH]\\[XZ]H\ܝHH\[][ۈ[Z[B\X[[Hܘ[K]8&\HXZ[\H]HH[ܘ[[\[[\\]]HݚYH\H\X\˂H\H[Z[Y\ˈ]8&\[Z[Y\[܋B^YZˈH[[ݙHH\[ZX\Y\]]\H\[[[Z\[\\KH\ [HXZ\]HX\\H[[\HXY\ŒLL