How Rumors Get Started
In May of this year, Teresia and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We had a small, private ceremony in our church to renew our vows. Two of our grandkids, Lexi (age 6) and Savannah (age 3) were in attendance. The ceremony was short, and afterwards we took the family out for dinner to celebrate. The next day, Lexi went to school and announced to everyone that her “YaYa and Yo got married”. This is how rumors get started.
There have been rumors circulating about the closing of the residential treatment program at Elks Aidmore in Conyers. As Mark Twain once wrote, “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Of course, we have concerns about our continuing ability to financially subsidize the residential treatment program. But, then again, we have ALWAYS had that concern.
With the passage of the Family First Preservation Services Act (FFPSA) in February of this year, those concerns were once again brought to the forefront. The passage of the bill is the most significant piece of child welfare reform legislation since 1980. One key component of the legislation is to allow states to divert federal Title IV-E dollars from providing foster care to providing family preservation services. It also significantly raises the requirements of being a residential treatment service provider which, in turn, translates into a higher cost service with fewer dollars. Because of the legislation, the Elks Aidmore Board of Trustees voted in May to review the cost of the current residential treatment program, and the progress being made on the implementation of FFPSA, on no less than a quarterly basis. The outcome of the reviews may indeed mean eliminating the residential treatment program. It could also mean providing those services in a different way, perhaps through an expanded independent or transitional living program. As of now, none of those decisions have been made.
Two famous quotes seem appropriate here. “Out of chaos comes order” (Nietzche) and “Change brings opportunity” (Quebin). Although passage of the FFPSA may impact the way in which we deliver our residential services, it gives an opportunity to strengthen our therapeutic foster care program and possibly expand our array of services to include family preservation. Right now, there are more questions than answers as related to the FFPSA. Over the next few months, what seems chaotic now will result in a new order of doing business. And what appears to be a reduction of financial support in one area of service, may create opportunities for us that we never imagined existed. So, stay tuned. Like a roller coaster, the ride will have its highs and lows, its unexpected turns, and its head-jarring bumps…but there will be an end. Let’s all pray the end of the ride will result in a healthier, stronger system of services to the children and families we are committed to helping. Each and every day, our focus will continue to be “healing hearts, restoring hopes and rebuilding lives”.