Without Etta Lappen Davis, and people like her, more families would fail and more children would find themselves living on the streets. As it is, 800 kids a year on average find themselves homeless, with out families, and aged out of foster care in this state. No one should take pleasure in this statistic. Children are the future of this country and we, collectively, are failing far too many of them.
Using 9C [the power to cut executive agencies held by the Governor] to balance this state’s budgets by cuts alone has harmed these defenseless children who are, really, our collective responsibility. These cuts have led to layoffs for a large number of front line social workers at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
I listened to a tearful DCF social worker at the rally on October 1st talking about having grown up in foster care, the way her adoptive parents saved her life, and becoming a social worker for DCF as a result. She said she received a layoff notice, her pay only allowing her to live paycheck to paycheck. None the less, she worked over time so that the cases she reluctantly leaves behind due to her layoff will be handed over caught up to her co workers. She worries that she and her child will now be homeless, and that her over worked co workers will not be able to do as good a job as she had been doing.
My fear is that the number of homeless, depressed young adults turned out onto the streets at the age of 18 in our state and town will only go up. Even when studied in 2008, 54% of these young people were clinically depressed.
We must do better than this; it is always services to the vulnerable that are cut, and infrastructure, not the Potemkin Village programs trotted out for the media. It also seems to be those on the “front lines” providing services who are cut – not the politically connected upper management.
This is NOT the “change” I voted for; this is business as usual.
It is truly good news that one of those soldiers in the trenches against despair, Etta Lappen Davis, received the Angel Award from her congresswoman, Nikki Tsongas.
Fortunately for the sad lives of our throwaway kids, there are many unsung Etta Lappen Davis soldiering on in these cold, grey, heartless days of 9C cuts and anti-tax, anti-child rhetoric.