As I prepare a new chapter in my life with plans to retire in the New Year after nearly 30 years of leading Child Advocates and serving vulnerable children, I feel both sentimental and grateful.
I am grateful for people like you who have helped empower and support our work as we continue to serve foster children in Indiana and help them find a loving home free from abuse and neglect.
Together, we have been able to do groundbreaking work for children.
A few years ago, we launched the only program in the state that offers older foster children their own free, in-house attorney through our Direct Representation program. We are giving children a voice in their court cases and their future. Earlier this year, the University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) chose our direct representation attorneys to conduct the first-ever randomized control study in the nation to evaluate counsel for kids (attorneys) versus no counsel for kids in Indiana. LEO hopes to see if attorneys could help prevent poverty outcomes and build a better future for foster youth.
We took the lead in launching an Educational Liaison program to help improve the academic success of foster children who were struggling in school due to life challenges and traumas. Today, we offer a free educational liaison to other vulnerable children, as well, who are facing difficulties in school, extending our reach across Indiana.
Nearly 15 years ago, we fought to address the disproportionality of Black and brown children placed in the child welfare system in Indiana. We offered judges and other child welfare staff race equity workshops to examine potential biases in placing children into the system. But we also wanted to ensure that white children were not left in abusive or neglectful homes because their parents received preferential treatment.
And today, we offer Interrupting Racism for Children workshops for anyone in the community. Thousands of people have attended them to help us build a world where a child’s race does not predict his, her, or their life outcomes.
For more than 40 years, we have been serving vulnerable children. As I prepare to retire at the end of this year, I am excited to announce that we have chosen a proven, dedicated, and experienced Child Advocates’ leader as our next CEO starting January 1, 2024.
Phyllis Armstrong, our Vice President of Program Operations, will lead Child Advocates forward and she is incredible. She has been with our nonprofit for 25 years in several leadership positions but also, as an attorney, she has “been in the trenches”, directly overseeing children’s cases and helping them find a permanent, safe home.
We have new chapters to write, more programs to create, and an urgent desire to expand our outreach throughout Indiana to serve even more vulnerable children in 2024 and beyond.
We thank you for supporting our work but there are hurting children who need us to do even more. They include children who are afraid, lonely, and just want to be loved. Hear one of the many stories of our impact from a teen girl who faced abuse at home. One of our Direct Representation attorneys advocated for her in court.
Please join me in advocating for justice, equity, and well-being for every child. Celebrate our new chapter today with a $25 donation. Let’s champion children together. You can help us change children’s lives.