5, No. 1
Welfare and Family Support
years there has been a wall dividing the human services community.
side has been DSS child welfare: an official presence in every community,
legally mandated to protect children and given immense authority
in the lives of families.
other have been family support agencies: present in some communities,
providing voluntary services in pursuit of their own equally impressive
mission--supporting families and building communities.
the irony of this division has been obvious. Both child welfare
and family support agencies frequently work with and care about
the same families and children. Both have the same basic goal: ensuring
children have safe, permanent, nurturing families.
the wall dividing these camps in North Carolina has begun to come
down. The family support and child welfare communities are coming
together at joint conferences, working together on the local level,
and joining forces for a statewide initiative, North Carolina's
Families for Kids 2.
the perspective of child welfare, there is much to gain from this
change. If our goal is to ensure every child is safe, we must enhance
our communities' ability to head off family crisis, to prevent abuse
and neglect before they happen. Collaborating with the family support
community may be the most effective way to do just that.