Trusting the Process

May 31, 2024 at 8:46 AM |
Posted by:
Jordyn Jenkins
Jordyn Jenkins

The primary goals of the Rock Families First movement include eliminating racial disparities in child protective services, decreasing the number of children placed out of home, and engaging families with increased satisfaction.

Assess, plan, reassess, change course, repeat cycle. The planning stages of Rock Families First began in 2021 and since that time it’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs and asking myself if we have any idea what we’re doing! Meeting after meeting I would ask myself, “How many times are we going to meet about the same thing?” and “When will it be time to DO THE THING?” From 2021 to date, we’ve changed group structure, team names, team members, meeting frequencies, meeting goals, and more, and we are constantly asking ourselves if how we are moving forward is what we need to be doing to meet our bigger-picture project goals. There is a lot of overwhelm and fear that comes with that level of change, especially when working on such an impactful, life-changing project, and there are people watching on the sidelines waiting for you to fail and pushing back.

But then you take a step back… You step back from being IN the messy middle of it all and you start to reflect on all the accomplishments. Here are just some of the things we’ve accomplished in Rock County:

  • Delivered trainings for leadership and staff to align the needs and vision of this project work;
  • Held a co-design process with parents with lived experience to create the Idea Book outlining ways we can build and support the community, to better support each other and utilize child protective services as a last resort;
  • Secured philanthropy funds, as well as grant funds, to use creatively over the next several years to keep families safely together;
  • Found space in the community for our Community Cultivator to meet with families and continue this work long-term;
  • Created “Mandated Supporter” trainings to provide to the school district, police department, and other professionals in the community to reinforce family-first efforts;
  • In the development phase of a revised practice model in child protective services in a co-design approach with parents with lived experience; and
  • Reduced the number of out-of-home placements for children in care by 70% through internal capacity building, community co-design work, and a transformational mindset shift in leadership and staff.

The moral of the story is, just keep going. Keep going when it feels messy, when it’s frustrating, when it feels like it may not be working, when you feel pushback, when you feel hopeless at times. We are not doing this for us. We are doing this for the families and communities we serve because they deserve better, and one day at a time, one meeting at a time, we become one step closer to keeping families safely together. Achieving a goal is not linear. Embrace the mess. Trust the process. You might just be exactly where you need to be.

Expectations vs Reality