We know this to be true: racism and social injustice must end so that all Americans can live in a world where there is justice and equality for everyone, regardless of race, color, ethnic or religious background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Our nation has been rocked by heartbreak and outrage at the murder of George Floyd—and too many others like him for too long. If any good has come from this, it is that Floyd’s death has opened the eyes of people in our country and around the world to bring us together in unity to say no more to injustice! With our eyes wide open it is now everyone’s responsibility to advocate for positive change!
At Family & Children Services, we continue to work toward the day when the color of one’s skin is not a prerequisite to being valued or treated fairly and with dignity. Our mission “to support, strengthen and preserve the safety, well-being and dignity of children, individuals and families” extends to all individuals and all families.
As an organization serving a highly diverse population, with more than three-quarters of our clients living 200% below federal poverty levels, we recognize the trauma that exists for people of color because of generational inequities in access to quality health care and education, stable housing and employment. In the State of Michigan, more than half of all children in the Child Welfare system are African American, yet African American children represent less than 18 percent of all children in the state. Data also reveals that communities of color, primarily low-income African Americans, are being hit disproportionally hard by fatalities of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
In how we deliver our services we consider all of this and continue to dedicate ourselves to the ongoing journey of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We must have the courage to have difficult conversations about race, and recognize and confront our own biases. We are committed to incorporating our core values into our work with our clients, business practices, hiring, training and all of our policies and procedures.
I hope you will take the time to read our 2019 Annual Report to learn more about our values and how we continue to align our services with the needs of the community we serve. In 2019, we worked together to create a statement that embodies our core values of Respect, Integrity, Service, and Empowerment - RISE. In 2020, we have relied on these values to help us bring creative solutions to continue our services in these challenging times.
Together we must RISE to exceed our expectations and exemplify our values. We must RISE to excellence in our service to the families and children of our community and in our workplace. We must RISE to continuous improvement, making each day better than the day before.
With Much Gratitude and Hope for the Future,
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services