Friday, April 23, 2010

Thanks for your input at the Community Meeting!

Last night we held our third Community Meeting of 2010. It was a fairly small turnout, but it was a great meeting! I know beda?chelh is always a sensitive subject. We care so much about our children and we want always want them to be with their families, so when anything happens to threaten that togetherness, we get very upset about it. Lead Case Manager Dan Althoff and Prevention Worker Drew Wilson took the time last night to walk us through the process and explain why how beda?chelh staff do the things they do.

One thing is very clear, beda?chelh staff members don’t just take children. When a referral is done, there is a preliminary investigation about the call, then that information goes to tribal court. It’s actually the judge that decides whether there is enough risk to do an emergency pick-up. The court makes the final decision, not beda?chelh staff. Dan also cleared up several myths about beda?chelh. One of the myths is that case managers receive a bonus for every child they pick up. This absolutely not true. Another myth is that all beda?chelh case managers are non-native and that case managers don’t care about kids. That is not true either. Of the eight case managers, five are native and they all care about kids.

After the presentation we had some great participation in the discussion groups. Some of the feedback we got was that families need more support and prevention before there is a CPS (Child Protective Services) referral. That our community wants to address problems before they get serious. Other members said we need to have better education and wrap-around services when something does happen. We also had a request for more parent support and outreach to connect parents to resources. And some members asked for a revision of the youth code so that it reflects our community and values instead of mirroring the State’s code.

Community members also asked for information in more places, not just the See-Yaht-Sub or KANU TV, but also in community gathering places, at community events and on-line and take home materials. Please tell me what you think. What information would you like to see about beda?chelh? Is there something you’ve seen in another community that worked better than what we’re doing here? How do you want the information? Would you sign up if the tribe had a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter account, do you want material you can take home or is the See-Yaht-Sub and KANU TV working for you? Feel free to leave comments here on my blog or on our concern line, 360-716-4006.

At our next Community Meeting, on May 27th, we’ll learn about the Maplewood Development. I hope to see you there!


Shelly L. Lacy