Sunday, July 1, 2012

Campaign Season

Well, it's that time again....election season!  And not voting is NOT an option!

For the next three months we will be bombarded with ads about this candidate and what he/she promises and with issues are important to them.  If you vote only by what you see in the ads, than you haven't a clue to who is the best candidate!  And passing up the opportunity to officially voice your opinion invalidates your whining in the future!

How CAPTA is administered is handled on a state level.  The federal laws and regulations are broad, and the states define them.  In 13 states, Ohio being one of them, the county administers all Title IV funds.  This means that on top of broad federal laws, the states and than the counties narrow down the procedures.  So, the people that most impact CPS agencies are state and county governments. 

Can you name your state legislators?  You mean that you are fighting for your children and don't know the names of the people that have the right to get bills written and passed?  For shame!!!!  Is that person doing a good job or does he/she need "pink slipped" and have a family orientated representative in the seat.

Now that you have done your homework and think you have decided who will be most receptive to our cause, you need to speak directly with that person.  Attend a town hall meeting or go to the headquarters and make an appointment.  But, never make it about your case!  Make it about the system with facts and figures that you can verify.  Type out a fact sheet to leave with him.  Now days, with budgets so tight, find an angle that will show a savings to the state.  Here is an example:

Mr. Smith, are you aware that each foster child costs this state or county about $1000 month after federal reimbursement?  Our county is spending $2500/month to get $1500 from the federal government in reimbursements.  Now, if we kept children at home with true strengthening programs, the state/county would be expending about 1/2 of the funds it now spends.  Plus, and most importantly, children would be safe and have the support of the friends and family that they love, and the trauma of removal eliminated. Our courts would be less burdened, and that would be a cost savings as well.  We would need fewer case workers, realizing yet another savings.  If elected, will you please look into this and do what is best for children and their families and our state/county? 

Of course, these figures are used as examples, but you can do the research and find out what they would be in your area.  Once you have found your candidate, volunteer a little time to assist the campaign.  Make some phone calls, do door-to-door campaigning, or stuff some envelopes. 

And don't forget!  In the states where we vote for our judges, veto the candidates and than spend time helping them.  In our primary, two GAL's were running on my parties ballot.  I stood at the endorsement meeting, and spoke out against the party's preferred candidate, as I knew him to be very damaging to families in cases with which I was involved.  Well, he got the endorsement anyhow, but, a week later, he lost the recommendation of all four bar associations (some might say this is a good thing, but if it goes in our favor, well....).  I continued to speak out against the bad attorney, and he lost the primary election. 

The best way, aside from running yourself (I have and will again!), is to research the candidates, pick your favorite, and work for his/her election. 

Roz McAllister

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