Good ‘Ol Common Sense Chris

Common sense.

When all else is gone, it’s all I’ll have left.

From what I understand, it’s why people like me, why they hire me as a consultant or speaker. Hell, it’s why some of you are reading this. If nothing else, I have an overabundance of common sense.

I’m a practical dude. I cut through all the words and bullshit of any subject and find the root, from that, I find the common sense answer. This has always been my strength and calling card…not getting too many calls for my skill lately.

We’ve moved into an era where common sense is no longer revered, it’s even questioned.

No matter where you land on the political spectrum, it’s impossible to escape. Science doesn’t matter anymore. Journalists like me are now the “enemy of the people”. There’s something called fake news now, we didn’t have that until recently. I have become an enemy of the state in some regards.

I heard about the crisis at the border and like 2014 my stance was “take care of the kids and keep the families together”. Unlike 2014, this was chaos was created, not by unaccompanied minors fleeing or being mules for the criminal back in their own countries, instead by a policy shift.

The zero-tolerance policy at the border is the creation of this administration as a response to unfounded immigration fears.

This is my gig; my job is to pay attention. I must know the numbers, I must know the cause and effect. So, when a human trafficking hotspot, like the border, gains national attention, I happen to be in the know. It as simple as I can put it; there has always been an issue at the border. However, these problems have not increased over the last decade. They’ve been steady. And with that steadiness has come arrests, stings, thwarted efforts, discovered and closed tunnels and many more advances.

The current administration came to office with the promise of tighter security and namely, a wall.

I have always kept politics and religion out of the magazine as much as possible. It’s not my job to make you think the same things I think. My job is to explain the world as it pertains to foster care to the masses. My opinion rarely matters. But when false information spreads, that’s too dangerous a time to stay quiet. My opinion aside, there are facts that are being dismissed. No one wins in that scenario.

I have never had an agenda other than the safety of kids like the one I used to be.

But when you kick a beehive and then ask for credit for killing all the bees you riled up, that doesn’t make sense. I am not in the habit of rewarding bad behavior or hiding the misdeeds of another person.

The border didn’t NEED a zero tolerance. There’s no common sense to creating a problem where one doesn’t exist. The numbers back me up. Steady as she goes. Inlays being made. Progress all put on hold to take a hard stance on folks coming here in distress, walking thousands of miles for help.

We will absolutely get into the families separated at the border and where the kids ended up when some of the dust settles. Reports are all over the place and its disorder in motion. When they reign it in a bit, we’ll tackle the aftermath. You care about child welfare, you’re up on most of this.

I’m still sorting all the articles on the subject and you can bet I’m checking facts and stats like a coffee-soaked researcher. When I feel like I’m presenting you with all the best info, you’ll have it. Until then, it’s a lot to pore through.

One that didn’t need too much fact checking was Rhonda Sciortino’s take on a constant problem at the border; false identities. Specifically, Coyotes disguised as family members. A serious issue that has plagued the border for as long as anyone can remember. Kudos to Rhonda for bringing that aspect of all this to the forefront again.

I promise, I’m not trying to piss anyone off, from either side of the aisle. It’s not my thing. Not what drives me. The kids and their positive outcomes are what drive me. That and a return of common sense.

In that vein, let’s talk about the Aderholt Amendment.

Let me see if I can nutshell it for you; Senator from Alabama wants to ensure that the religious freedoms we enjoy in this country are protected. Fine, right? Not in this case. To achieve his goal, he feels it means that faith-based groups should be allowed to turn away anyone whose lifestyle doesn’t jive with what they feel is right. Simpler terms? They can turn down potential foster parents because they are LGBTQ.

As I’ve stated in the past, do whatever the hell you want but not at the expense of keeping someone else from doing whatever the hell they want. If no one is getting hurt, there’s no foul.

My common sense has never been able to crack the code of how telling someone else how to live preservers your way of life. But that is neither here not there. My common sense alarm is firing on all cylinders because WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH DAMN FOSTER FAMILIES!!!!!

We are overloaded and now we want to turn people away?

A few months ago, I told you that this very thing was already happening in Philadelphia. A Judge has ruled that this is not permitted when you are using federal funds to run your agency. How is it wrong in one place like Philly but this same law gets passed in Oklahoma?

The border crisis, this amendment, the already exploding foster care population from the normal neglect, abuse and a new opioid epidemic is at or beyond capacity. Turning anyone away is a huge misstep that only hurts foster care.

The magazine has a position on this, a rarity to say the least. It’s only he 2nd or 3rd time the magazine has held a public opinion. It is as follows: The Aderholt Amendment is asinine and gratuitous. Foster Parents already reserve the right to refuse a placement. There is no benefit to labeling the reason why.  Further segregating and disenfranchising LGBTQ foster youth is NOT a viable solution. Penalizing agencies who support these most vulnerable youth is exploitive and unconscionable. There aren't enough homes for the current foster youth population, this only muddles an already exhausted system. This is the official Foster Focus Magazine statement. 

The magazine stands with the children of the system and those who care for them. Some of those people are LGBTQ and some are devout Believers, FF stands by them all.

I join a chorus of the top agencies and advocates all calling for a no vote on this amendment when it comes to the Senate floor. It is the best interest of foster care that we don’t drift further apart.

Common sense tells me that if we say, “It takes a village.” A million times a year, maybe we should act like it. No village has ever thrived by separation. No village that spends its time infighting has ever raised citizens worth talking about. We need to get together.

One of the most exciting developments in my time at the helm of Foster Focus has been watching churches step up. But that growth and activity should be in conjunction WITH the rest of the child welfare world not working to separate from it.

Churches could be an invaluable piece of the puzzle. But it can’t turn away help.

A study came out recently that said Single people and LGBTQ people are SEVEN times more likely to foster or adopt. How on Earth can you deny that large a part of the population the chance to prove their worth, their passion and need to care for our most vulnerable youth? Doesn’t make sense.

Everyone’s involvement is crucial and necessary. That’s just common sense.

Man, that would have been a great way to end that but I have some magazine stuff to write about quickly.

Summer is tough on my Columnists. They are fierce advocates and they use the Summer to unwind, work on projects or gear up for what’s next. I assure you, they will all return, but for now, I will either takeover their column or run a great older column of theirs. Just wanted to keep you all in the loop.

Enjoy the issue.