Fall 2023: Ensuring Support for Child Welfare Professionals

We often share stories here that revolve around the families we help and support. We know that you believe as we do that families are the champions all children need to thrive and grow. We delight in the opportunities to tell you about the difference your support makes in their lives. In this issue, however, we want to tell you about another group of champions vital to ensuring kids who come into care have safe places to go: the foster care licensing social workers across Wisconsin.

You may have heard about the changes to the Coalition’s contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families that took effect this summer. As we worked through the details of those changes, we had to share the news that an annual conference for foster care licensing workers had been discontinued. This news was very upsetting to the workers who rely heavily on the Coalition for support and resources. Shortly after we broke the news, one worker sent us an email:

“I don’t know if you are accepting feedback at this time, but this is deeply disheartening. This is the only conference and training specific to our role and is a huge support each year for those of us who are the only staff at our agencies navigating this role. The conference was often the only way to gain annual in-person training and connections specific to the work we do. I hope this can be considered differently in the future and that funding sources will consider the importance of this conference!”

This feedback was disheartening to the team at the Coalition, as well. We continued to hear from more and more workers, each message filled with disappointment and anxiety from social workers who trust, support, and believe in the work we are doing together. Our team talked it through and came to a decision: this conference needed to happen . . . and we needed to use agency resources to make it happen.

We hastened a response to the licensing workers, telling them that the Coalition would plan and facilitate a conference event for them using resources from donors like you. The response we heard in return was swift and overwhelmingly positive. We asked for suggestions on learning topics, and 88 replies came rushing in—72 of those within the first 24 hours!

Simply stated, this would not be happening without you.

You helped us say “yes” to a group of front-line social workers, and you have ensured we have well-trained and well-supported professionals to meet the needs of children and families across Wisconsin. And we cannot thank you enough.