Each day for the next two weeks, we’ll count down 10 of the biggest stories The Chronicle of Social Change published in 2018. In each, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage of this issue.
Today we highlight stories of inspiration from the frontlines. As any person passionate about serving youth and families is aware, there is no shortage of problems and challenges to focus on in child welfare and juvenile justice. But it’s important to also celebrate the many people on the frontlines of these fields who work hard in the trenches every day, fighting for kids and their families. Many are fueled by their own experiences, and a desire to make it better for the next generation.
Dewayne ‘The Foster Care Rock’ Johnson, written by Sara Tiano, examines the inspiring life story of a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Born into foster care himself, Johnson spent his childhood moving from house to house, relative to relative. After finding stability with his foster mother, Catherine Hayden, he became a foster parent himself and then a caseworker.
Christie Renick on Victoria Ortiz and the volunteers at Casa Alitas, a Tucson, Arizona charity that has wrapped its arms around newly arrived families at the border.
Sara Tiano on Skye Patrick, who grew up in Michigan foster care and now helps push for career development opportunities for foster youth as the head librarian for Los Angeles County.
Heather Adams on how one foster family fought to stay together after the horrific Camp Fire in Butte County, California.
Maureen Lunn interviews Ezra Spitzer, executive director of the New Mexico Child Advocacy Network, who shepherded a youth-led campaign to pass legislation aimed at connecting foster youths with employment.
Sara Tiano on Steve Sturm, who works in the education unit of Los Angeles DCFS and developed a simple application to connect more vulnerable children with Head Start.