This is the longest I’ve ever done a singular job.
I’m kind of a bad employee. I don’t lack effort or focus, I just never saw the need for overkill, extra work. If I can do a task in a set amount of time, if done correctly, why should I waste more time on something? But jobs are full of meaningless tasks, it’s part of those gigs. This gig is pretty cut and dry, but I’ve been doing it twice as long as I’ve held any job in my life. Eight years is an eternity for a guy like me.
Fact is, I love this job, but I’ve been doing it so long, I’m not sure how well of a job I’m doing.
Foster care faces a similar dilemma. We’re reaching a threshold and we’re not entirely sure we’ve been doing our job well.
Both foster care and I are both asking; What Now?
For me, it’s all about figuring out what works. I need to be sure I’ve been putting my best foot forward. Are the columns all working? Should I change up the look and feel of the mag? Do I need more of this subject? What about that subject? Is that group being represented enough? What about that problem or issue, have I given it enough attention?
After 8 years, certain things run like clockwork. I know how to layout and pick stories in a timely matter. I know how to cater to the subscribers and advertisers I have. I know how to balance work and home life. There are areas that still need work. I still have trouble finding the right words to gain new advertisers. I still have trouble controlling the faucet that is subscribers. From the beginning, I have tempered my subscription pushes, as to not get overwhelmed. Sometimes I do too much, others, too little. I’ll figure it out. The areas I fail in are vast, but if we’re restricting our list, it’s just a few. I don’t spend enough time checking in on my writers and advertisers. They know, especially the Columnists, that this magazine is a 24/7 365 day a year kind of thing. I lose track of the little things I should be doing to make folks feel important. They are, I just let things fall the through the cracks. I’m working on it. I also haven’t managed to find the time to play with the look of the magazine. I want it to become fresher, more vibrant. The stories may occasionally be bleak, but the vehicle from which you get the story needn’t be. So, I have areas to approve upon as I look out on another year as head of this thing. And foster care has some questions it’s looking to answer too.
The first might be; where in the hell is the White House these last two years? The Obama Administration was a flurry of foster care related activity. Using that metaphor, the White House of today is a frozen tundra of inactivity. This isn’t a politically motivated publication, it’s an action-oriented publication. I have worked hard to keep politics out of these pages. Policy, legislation, testimonies, these are all fine, but the political bickering that has captured the nation stops at the cover of this magazine.
DHS is rightfully consumed by what’s happening at the border, leading to a lack of information about much else. Only a handful of foster care related stories have bubbled up to the surface in the last couple years. The Family First Act was signed into law. That act changes how money is dispersed along with some other guidelines. There’s also a developing trend of religious freedom bills popping up throughout the country. In essence, these bills allow agencies to turn away potential foster parents if their lifestyle choices don’t line up with the agency. A few more states have raised their age-out ages and a few more have raised the age that former foster kids can receive medical insurance. Beyond of those stories, there hasn’t been much movement, leading to more questions.
How do we remedy our glaring lack of foster parents? How do we continue the efforts to minimize group homes with that lack of homes weighing down on the system? Do we continue on the course we are on or do we switch things up and go after preventative measures that have been showing positive results? How do we address the inability to track a great deal of the kids in our care? What about oversight when the age out? What about life skills? What about reunification? What about keeping siblings together? How do we improve graduation numbers? How do we send more of our kids to college? Or the workforce? How do we curb our homeless numbers?
Now that I’m looking at it, I shouldn’t complain so much. Others have much more on their plate than I have.
I’ve been at this long enough to make some educated guesses when looking out on a new year. I see this year playing out one of two ways. Either the trend of little movement continues or some of the new faces in the legislative branches will take us back to the days of action in the world of care.
I’ll be here trying to bring you as much of it as I can however it plays out.
I’m going to make some efforts to bring you more of an understanding of the changes that are taking place. I’ll bring in some experts to explain what it all means. It’s times of inactivity that it becomes important to understand everything we have in place with more depth. I really enjoy the first hand account stories that I get to run, but exploring how some of these stories manifest is also important. Hey! Another area I can improve.
With so many questions lingering, it can be easy to feel a bit hopeless. How do we all come together for the betterment of the kids? I feel I can give you some hope in this regard. I have found that regardless of political climate, foster care is generally a bipartisan issue. In my experience, they put their differences aside for the kids. And sure, there are a lot of issues we need to face, but much like the magazine, if we break them down, go through them one at a time, we’ll get where we need to be.
And with that run on sentence, I will lead you into the issue.
2019; What Now? We get to work, that’s what.