THE IMPORTANCE OF POLITICS
May 4, 2014
May 4, 2014
“I don’t like politics!” Well, you want change, right? The two go together. You have to “get political” in order to get change. What? You think standing outside with a sign in your hand is going to bring change? How has that worked over the last 20 years?
Do you know the set up of CPS in your state? In 13 states, the counties each have their own agency with their own policies and procedures.
Can you name your state representative and state senator? Is that even what they are called in your state? In NB, for example, they only have a state senate.
If you do not know the answer to these questions, then you are not yet ready to work for change. You have to be well informed before you can even begin to work toward change! After you learn all that, you then have another set of facts to learn. Research, research, research! Here is what you need to know before you can talk to anyone about change.
- How many children are in foster care in your state?
- What percentage of the incoming calls result in cases?
- What is the budget for foster care and what is the amount reimbursed by the feds?
- What is Title IV-E and how does it affect cases?
- When is the next election and what positions are up for grabs?
- What laws govern CPS?
- What has the appeals court said in CPS cases?
Now you are ready to start on the journey. Takes too long? Well, the last 20 years of protests and rallies haven’t brought about a single change for the better, so what’s a couple years?
You will find that, in most states, it’s time to elect state legislators. Interview the candidates. NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER mention your case in the first person. As an example, without the personal emotion is fine. But you will need to have a why it applies to what you are discussing.
As disgusting as you may find it, the legislature is more interested in the money than the children. Use it! Find a way to save money to make them want to make the change. And it has to be specific. “We need to put fewer kids in foster care” won’t work. “Are you aware that this state is over paying for foster care? We are spending millions unnecessarily.” I’ve been told that you have to catch the attention in 15 seconds or they will ignore you with something like “Why don’t you send an email to my office”.
But how do you get to speak to them at all? Join the campaign! Get to know the candidate and you will meet others. You can also join your local city or ward club for your chosen party.
Get involved with civic groups. Ohio has 99 state representatives. I am recognized and called by name by at least 10 of them. There are 33 state senators. I am on first name bases with only a few. And this is from both parties. I have read both the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. I can quote them if needed. And I have been called because my name was given to citizens by these lawmakers.
Change will not come by marching outside a building in jeans and t-shirts with signs. It’s in business casual and written reports inside the buildings!