I am still on sabbatical and loving every minute. I keep finding things to do that I couldn't find time or energy to do before, like refinishing furniture, completing my travel scrapbooks, and gardening. I love gardening again! I do realize however that my efforts to find meaningful employment need to be stepped up so that I am in full time employment again ~ or writing serious grants ~ by the end of summer.
I spoke with a former colleague of mine yesterday who shared some very depressing news; she shared some devastating news for those suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. Our counties largest social service agencies has threatened to close its doors on June 30, after 53 years of business. The state is so far behind in its payments that social service agencies cannot serve people and keep their doors open. A merger was developed, key staff lost their positions, and now the merger is coming to a complete stop with very little notice. More than 2000 clients who cannot afford to pay for treatment will be left to find limited help elsewhere by agencies who are already understaffed and wondering if they will ever be reimbursed on time from the state again.
Which brings me to the point of my post. One year ago, I left non-profit work and decided to try my hand at grant writing, specializing in helping non-profit directors and school administrators develop programs and secure funding that will serve their clients in the best way possible. Given the economic climate of our state, and nation, and knowing that we can no longer rely on outside help to meet the needs of our children and families, it is time to look inside ourselves and find ways to bring that help home. It really does take a village to raise a child but if the members of the village are too ill to take responsibility, we all suffer.
We all need to pool our resources, working together to find solutions locally. It appeared that our county had the answer. As part of my previous employment, I worked for a system of care movement and I agreed with its founding principles, one of them being that families at the heart of the services should be the driving force behind the decisions. What was missing however was the lack of leadership who completely understood the meaning of those principles. Six years ago our county accepted 9 million dollars from our federal government to change the way mental health services were delivered to our families and less than one year after the funding ended, the system of care thinking, and the people driving the movement in our county are leaving ~ for many reasons ~ and in reality, nothing has changed. The county and state continues to operate as it did before, and once again the families are going to suffer.
We need to find a way to strengthen our families closer to home, with local resources and the desire to do the right thing for the citizens of our community driving the momentum.