STATEWIDE – The rights of children and programs to help them were among some of the key points discussed at the Maine Children’s Alliance’s (MCA) 2020 Children’s Convention on Thursday.
“You really can’t move the needle on making children and families healthier and better unless you think not just about the child welfare system, but the welfare of children,” said Christine James-Brown, CEO of the Child Welfare League of America.
James-Brown said this drove them to write the National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare.
“It challenges us as a community to think about the roles that all of us play in making children and families better and healthier,” James-Brown said.
Other members of the panel shared information about various programs aimed at helping children.
“The cornerstone of what the BARR program is built on is intentionally building relationships and not just having it happen on accident, teaching our staff how to go out of their way to build intentional relationships with their students and with each other,” said Josh Tripp, principal of Bucksport High School, RSU 25 and coordinator of the BARR program.
“We included in the curriculum like things that’s familiar, like culture norm, foods, stories, experiences that they felt,” said Zoe Sahloul, founder and executive director of New England Arab American Organization.
The organizer of Maine Youth Justice, Abdul Ali, said his experiences in the South Portland juvenile facility led him to want to create change.
“The system really destroys you. It makes you decapitated, and it just, there’s no end to it,” Ali said. “You just lose everything, so what we did is we created the Maine Youth Justice campaign to close down the juvenile facility.”
The speakers say they want the conversation to encourage people to help children be successful.