Happy spring, everyone! As National Child Abuse Awareness month is upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “hidden” nature of the work we do. For one thing, child welfare, abuse, and neglect are not often at the forefront of people’s minds. However, I recently saw a Facebook post that reminds us that every time we see a news story about an arrest, or a shooting, or a police drug raid, there are likely children affected who will become involved in the child welfare system as a result.(http://www.parentsoffostercare.com/where-are-all-the-foster-children/) We don’t hear about these children, as their part is kept confidential, for good reason; however, it also allows us to forget how close to home these issues are. That many of these children are in our local schools, our neighborhoods, our churches. We can attribute these situations to “other” people and “other” communities, when in reality, it affects us all. Likewise, our volunteer advocates, who put in countless hours of work and endless heart and soul, are the unsung heroes of the process. Because of the confidential nature of the children’s cases, our volunteers are unable to share the depth and details of their work with anyone outside of the case. But we know that they worry about the children, spend their “off” time thinking of ways to advocate for them, and sacrifice their heart and soul to the work they do for these children.
I would like to take this moment to recognize these children and advocates who are not truly hidden, not at all invisible. We know you are there; we are here to speak up for the children, and we are forever grateful to the volunteers. I want to say a heartfelt thank-you to all of you for your support, whether it is as an advocate, a volunteer of another sort, a donor, or the friends and family that offer a listening ear and open arms. You are the ones that make this work possible, and you are the reason these children are not entirely hidden.