From the national to community level, hear how the movement to prioritize family well-being is gaining momentum. In this season finale, Matt interviews three guests to hear the types of conversations taking place across the country around supporting families and recognizing their value. Jerry Milner, former Associate Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau, shares his perspective on the progress of the child welfare transformation work on a national scale. Sharee Pemberton and Hope B. Haywood of a rural county in North Carolina discuss how community leaders can bring about change and build trust through listening to families and meeting them where they are.
THE MOMENTUM IS BUILDING
Hear about the loving relationship that developed between one foster family looking to adopt and one family fighting for reunification when they moved past the status quo and let their walls come down. Brett and Jessica Crisp decided to abandon their original plan of adoption to help a little girl placed in their care reunify with her parents. See what’s possible when this foster family decided to put their personal agenda aside and shift perspective to “what would I want to have happen if I were the birth parent?”
THE WALLS STARTED TO COME DOWN
Experience what life was like for Jaquia Wilson, the youngest of nine children, who went from growing up with a loving mother in the Bronx to aging out of foster care without a support system. Jaquia demonstrates resilience through the tragedy of losing her mother, becoming isolated from her siblings, experiencing an abortion, and entering foster care. With a little help from a caring social worker, Jaquia’s fighting spirit leads her to college and, now, advocacy work for youth in care.
CRACK THE CONCRETE WHEN YOU WALK
Hear from Alise Morrissey about the impacts of individuals—a volunteer, a judge, an attorney, and a program leader—who offered glimmers of hope by seeing her for who she was instead of her circumstances. Alise tells her story of going from straight-A student to giving birth amidst a prison sentence. She reveals how her faith, the people who showed her kindness, and the determination of being there for her child led to recovery from substance use disorder and reunification with her daughter.
MY DARKEST MOMENT WAS NO LONGER GOING TO BE BLEAK
Systems change when people change. And people change through stories. Dr. Bruce Perry candidly offers compelling insights on the power and science of storytelling. This episode demonstrates how some of the most important things we can do to improve family well-being and change systems starts with listening.
PEOPLE CHANGE THROUGH STORIES
Shrounda Selivanoff takes us on a journey from childhood to motherhood, including a head-on collision with the child welfare system. Hear from Shrounda on how being seen and acknowledged for who she was changed her life forever. Shrounda is a passionate mother, kinship caregiver, and parent ally who inspires and helps other parents who experience the system through her work as public policy director at Children’s Home Society of Washington.
LOOKING FOR THAT WARM HUG ALL MY LIFE
Spoken word poet, Slam Anderson, and her mom, Lillie Lee-Williams, engage in an emotional conversation with host Matt Anderson that demonstrates the strength of family bonds despite a 14-year child welfare-initiated separation. This episode questions what would happen if the child welfare system was designed to support root causes of family stress instead of waiting for late-stage intervention. Plus, Slam recites her spoken word poem “My Need for Change,” detailing her experiences with the system, which Matt Anderson refers to as the “anthem” of the family well-being movement.