If You Ain’t Got That Do-Rei-Mi

If You Ain’t Got That Do-Rei-Mi

Why is it that the CEO of Child & Family Agency has been infusing his end-of-summer days re-reading John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and listening to Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads?

Is it because

  1. Connecticut is lagging behind most of the fifty states in post-2008 economic recovery (annual State budget deficits are projected to be well over $1 billion through fiscal year 2020)?
  2. State subsidy funding to Connecticut’s Child Guidance Clinics and School-Based Health Centers were each cut by over 6% this year (and the SBHCs had already seen their primary care and mental health funding cut by 7.5% last year)?
  3. the income eligibility threshold for Care-4-Kids child care subsidies has been made more restrictive, forcing more low-income working families to make the miserable choice between handing over a huge chunk of their take-home pay for child care or quitting their jobs?
  4. we as a statewide human services network and a broader community have yet to make anything close to adequate progress erasing racial- and ethnicity-based health disparities, and the income gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to widen?
  5. All of the above?

If your answer is “E – all of the above”, you are correct.  While Connecticut has not become a literal agricultural drought-ridden dust bowl, and while we as a state are making progress with some issues (homelessness, for example), an increasing number of children and families are feeling the impact of cuts to core safety net services, and the forecast is for these supports to continue to be stripped away and blown to the wind as harshly as if this were Oklahoma in the 1930’s.

You want to buy you a home or a farm, that can’t deal nobody harm,
Or take your vacation by the mountains or sea.
Don’t swap your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are,
Better take this little tip from me.
‘Cause I look through the want ads every day but the headlines on the papers always say:

If you ain’t got the do re mi, boys, you ain’t got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot if you ain’t got the do re mi.

So what do we do?  The Child & Family Agency answer is consistently simple and deeply held to the bone: we never give up.  Our staff, our board and our auxiliary volunteers are more “all in” as partners than ever.  We are better linked through community outreach than ever, both on a service delivery level (our supports to the region’s school districts, our Family Resource Centers and our upper-teen/young adult CT-STRONG programs are doing more creative work than ever), and on the level of deepening dialogue between ourselves, the job-creating business community, and our local legislators.  For every area of service shrinkage we find or create an area of growth.  (Our intensive in-home services and our Training Department are this year’s hottest examples.)  We are daily buoyed up by the inspiring energy and resilience of the clients we serve (I am still carried away by the on-stage brilliance of our B.P. Learned Mission’s most recent musical production of Candyland in mid-August, a great visual reminder of the courage and strength shown by so many of our client families each day).  And we are doing a better job than ever getting the word out about how special this place and its services are.  We are here, and we are doing far more than just “playing defense” and surviving in place.