2021 YEAR HIGHLIGHTS
Looking Back and Looking Forward
As one year concludes and the next unfolds, it is important to step back and assess where we have been and where we are going. As we take a closer look at our successes— and the challenges we have been able to overcome—staff and leadership prepared a year-end report for you we would like to share.
Once again, the pandemic undeniably affected 2021 as it did the year before, and if there is a bright spot, working through a pandemic has helped us to see our areas of strength and where there are opportunities for improvement and innovation.
“Agency leadership is aware of the additional stress, trauma and isolation brought on by the pandemic in stretching families’ ability to cope,” said Sherry Thomas-Cloud, Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to aligning available services to provide them where and when they are needed the most.”
One of the most important parts of the mission of Family & Children Services is to listen to our clients, to the community, and to be proactive in creating linkages with other stakeholders to enhance capacity or create new services. We listened and heard the needs of our communities’ children and families, we challenged our behaviors, beliefs, and structure, having honest conversations and creating brave spaces to explore our differences and celebrate our unique strengths to create an inclusive agency.
As a result, our agency has made necessary shifts in our culture. We have discussed and reviewed our policies and practices as they relate to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). We continue to make changes, always with an eye toward achieving excellence, within our organization and in our interactions with clients, stakeholders, and our community.
“I saw the courage and vision of our leadership team, determined to support our staff and maintain what we were known for—exceptional service.” Thomas-Cloud said. “I also saw the humility of staff working side-by-side with clients and was keenly aware of the tenacity it has taken to make it all happen.”
We are pleased to share a few highlights from our 2021 Year-End Report:
- A new 3-year Strategic Plan was approved by the board of directors for 2022-2024. The plan incorporates voice and vision from a comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis with all agency staff, board members and community volunteers, as well as input from clients.
- Forgiveness of a $1.6 million Payroll Protection Plan loan was secured. A 3-year plan of prioritized use of funds was created, aligned with our 2022-2024 Strategic Plan that includes the addition of staff positions, wage increases and tuition assistance for staff, professional development and clinical training, and Information Technology upgrades.
- Market equity wage adjustments were made for master’s and state licensed positions in behavioral health programs. Base wages were increased to a minimum of $15.00 per hour for all staff in positions requiring a bachelor’s degree.
- New organizational structure was adopted, with two primary services areas: Children’s Services and Clinical Services. Several programs were realigned to support the new structure, adding one Program Manager, a Professional Development and Special Projects Coordinator, and a DEI and Facilities Manager.
- A comprehensive return-to-work policy was created that incorporated a new Telework policy and procedure. No positive COVID-19 cases in staff resulted from any workplace exposure.
- In partnership with Bethany Christian Services, new Therapeutic Residential Services, one of two programs in the nation, served unaccompanied children through a federal grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Seven bilingual staff were hired for this new program.
“The directors, managers, supervisors, and staff all worked together to ensure successful outcomes this year for our agency and for those we serve,” Sherry Thomas-Cloud said. “They were driven, I believe, by an internal compass that let them know that we could provide for our clients in their most difficult situations. It is the reason staff choose to work at F&CS—because there is that sense of purpose.
“We are motivated to do more and even better in 2022, and it feels good knowing we have an equally talented and supportive board to help us along our strategic path, always in the best interest of families and children.”