While poverty and neglect tend to intersect, the two are not inextricably linked. Children’s Bureau Express (CBX) explains why differentiating the two is foundational for building a system that truly meets families’ needs and supports economic mobility.
“Rather than trying to prevent poverty and the many challenges associated with poverty, such as social isolation and lack of meaningful opportunities and support, we search for increasingly sophisticated evidence-based interventions to treat the trauma or ‘fix’ the symptoms arising from a family's inability to meet their children's fundamental needs.”
This passage is part of a message from Jerry Milner, associate commissioner of the Children's Bureau, and David Kelly, special assistant to the commissioner, that’s included in CBX’s roundup, “Spotlight on Knowing the Difference Between Poverty and Neglect.”
These words stuck out to me because they underscore a key narrative that Northwoods’ evangelist team (including myself and my child welfare counterpart) is focusing on this year.
The goal of human services isn’t simply “fixing” people who are “broken,” but assuring that anyone looking to become safer, stronger, and healthier has the tools and programs they need to do so.
Policies, processes, technology—all of it should be designed to move people forward without causing additional roadblocks. As the last article in this series notes, “Only then can we start to lift up the inherent dignity and value in every person, family, and community and support them in their desire to care for one another and build a better future.”