CEO Message July 17, 2020
Uniting for a System of Success
Return to School
As much of the discussion this week centered around the challenging question of how and when to safely allow children and youth to return to schools around the state, I was reminded of a discussion within the FCC Learning Community and a brief Dr. Nellius-Guthrie wrote in late June about our #communityofcare “Coming Together to Tackle Wicked Problems.”
Dr. Nellius-Guthrie wrote: “The field of child welfare by definition is a “wicked problem.” ‘A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems….’
“The nature of a wicked problem is that it cannot be solved in isolation, but rather requires all parties who intersect in the system to come together as a Learning Community to assess and evaluate critical lessons to formulate a strategy on how best to solve the wicked problem that exists. As we strive to define the future vision of Florida’s community-based care system of care amidst the challenges and opportunity brought on by COVID-19 it is essential for all stakeholders involved to contribute to the analysis and proposed solutions in a comprehensive and well-coordinated manner.”
We have had no shortage of wicked problems to tackle in our system of care, and the onset of a global pandemic and now the numerous challenges it is imposing, are certainly among some of the wickedest we have ever faced.
However, this is when our #systemofsuccess can shine.
Together we can collaborate with state and community policymakers about the needs of our communities, the challenges we are facing, and present solutions that may have not been considered before. That is the value of community-based care. Together we must continue to share the lessons we have learned, the experiences we have had in the past and what we are encountering in the present with focused determination for the future that continues our work of keeping children and families safe.
The return to school is certainly a challenging and complex problem we are facing, and we must help leaders explore all the options and be open to all options as well. Our ongoing input is an important piece of the puzzle and I urge you to keep FCC informed of the considerations and discussions happening in your communities, with local stakeholders and with the families you serve, so that we may ensure that the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Education and the governor have critical input and information from our communities and our system of care as discussions continue around schools re-opening and what that looks like for our communities.
As many of you know another “wicked problem” created by the COVID-19 pandemic is significant budget shortfalls. The drop in tourism and other business activities around the state means budget shortfalls, which the governor and other lawmakers have made clear, will mean cuts for various state programs and services.
We are having daily discussions the DCF Secretary Chad Poppell, the governor’s office and other lawmakers, as well as many of our member CEOs. We will continue to monitor the budget discussions and any proposed cuts, as well as work with partners around the state who have regular input on state fiscal matters. Please continue to keep FCC apprised on financial impacts the corona virus is having on your community. We will make FCC members aware of details as they become available.
This is also a critical time for our member agencies to be engaging your leadership and even your Board of Directors, leaders in your communities, and encouraging them to reach out to your local, state and federal lawmakers to inform them about the critical services your agencies continue to provide, the needs of our system of care and the impacts the coronavirus is having on our communities. Many lawmakers are home, in districts right now, and while you might not be able to meet with them in person, phone calls, virtual meetings and even letters and emails to their offices are extremely impactful.
Also don’t forget to visit the FCC Action Center where you can easily find a your local legislators and find current campaigns and messaging that FCC members are focused on sharing with elected officials.
Again, this is a time when our unity is our strength. The Coalition has grown to representing 85 agencies and organizations that provide services and programs to tens of thousands of children and families in crisis throughout our state. Our collective, diverse voice, and advocacy for children and families every day — particularly in times of crisis — is what helps ensure more children are protected and families have the resources and support they need.
We need unity as a #communityofcare now more than ever. Our commitment to children and families, as well as our voices and actions, will help us navigate this current crisis with strength that lifts us, diversity that guides us and determination that unites us.