Transforming Child Welfare: Reflections from the Results Network Convening in Chicago

May 17, 2024

Members of our Results Network cohort gathered in Chicago this week to continue our ongoing journey to find innovative solutions for families that keep them together and change our nation’s child welfare system for the better.

Our United Commitment

With 41 participants from our member organizations as well as additional stakeholders and partners, the two-day session was a testament to our collective commitment to drive change. Guided by the Person Role System approach from the Results Count framework, we are not just dreaming of change, we are actively shaping it. By zooming in on our roles as change agents, we are reshaping systems and moving towards a future where every child has the opportunity to thrive.

During the morning session, we focused on somatic practices to foster resilience. Through activities such as centering and grounding, the introduction to somatic toys, and breathwork, we embraced the journey of personal care, healing, and recognizing the importance of nurturing our own well-being as we advocate for others.

Strategizing for the Future

One of the highlights of the convening was our data walk, where we reviewed the work of each organization, shared insights, and engaged in table conversations. This reflective exercise allowed us to celebrate past achievements and identify areas for growth, all while centering equity and justice in our discussions.

In our final session, we came together to understand and help develop a framing guide that is aimed at simplifying the complexities of our work into plain language. This guide will serve as a powerful tool, enabling us to communicate effectively and inspire others to join our efforts to advance equity in the child welfare space.

Cultivating Genuine Connections

Throughout the convening, we prioritized the cultivation of genuine connections. We know that only together do we as advocates, allies, and change agents have the power to create caring communities that advance health and opportunity for children, youth, and families across the country. We invite you to join us as we continue to be innovative in our pursuit of equity and justice in child welfare.

Renada Johnson is the Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives at Lutheran Services in America.

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Match with a Lived Voices Fellow!

April 29, 2024

In March, we were honored to launch our inaugural Lived Voices Fellowship, a new community of people within the Lutheran Services in America or ELCA community who serve in positions of leadership and bring lived expertise. Some fellows have been refugees to the United States. Others have navigated public systems for housing, food assistance and child welfare. Through the fellowship they are healing, expanding their village and growing new skills to affect change. That is where you come in!

We are inviting you to contribute to and learn from one of our 17 amazing fellows by becoming a peer mentor. As a peer mentor, you will be matched with one of the Lived Voices fellows and engage in a powerful series of mutually beneficial conversations to advance your collective leadership.

Peer Mentor Obligation

Peer mentors will engage in three 1-hour conversations with their matched fellow in June, July and September (self-scheduled by fellow and peer mentor). 

  • The conversations will give both fellow and peer mentor the space to explore their respective stories, identify and build collective identity and make an actionable commitment grounded in lived experience and strategy.  
  • A guide will be provided for the conversations, grounded in Professor Marshall Ganz’s public narrative framework of Story of Self, Us and Now 
  • While not required, peer mentors are also encouraged to attend the final fellowship session on Thursday, November 14 from 1 to 4 p.m., where fellows will make a final presentation. 

 Qualifications

Ideal peer mentors will meet the following qualifications:

  • Embrace the Approach: Learn about the Self, Us, Now framework and be open to sharing your personal and professional journey through story, discuss the community you are building and make commitments coming out of the process.  
  • Able to Fulfill the Time Commitment: Be able to fulfill the time commitment of three 1-hour conversations, recognizing the importance of accountability to a fellow. Peer mentors are encouraged to attend the November 14 fellowship session.
  • Bring Diverse Personal and Professional Experiences. We welcome peer mentors from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. While a minimum of 15 years of professional experience is encouraged, we also recognize the value of diverse perspectives and encourage anyone interested in becoming a peer mentor to apply.

How to Apply

To share your interest in serving as a peer mentor, please fill out the following brief application form.

Kent Mitchell is Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Lutheran Services in America.