Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Voices for Children

     A Guardian ad Litem, in my area, is a volunteer who is appointed by a judge to represent a child removed from his/her home by social services.  In my second week of training to do this work, I find myself with a lot of thoughts andmotions about what I will be doing.

     I have wondered what it is that attracts me to troubled kids.  As the lucky daughter of a stable home, I never experienced first-hand the domestic upheaval some kids have to live with.  I was aware of some problems in the homes of friends, but really had little knowledge of any major abuse or neglect.  Now, of course, I admit, like in every community, more of my friends than I knew suffered tough home situations.  Maybe I simply feel guilty to have had good parents who provided a good home, I don't know, but I wrote a book about a teenager from a problematic home, so there's some reason I feel drawn to the subject.
     Whatever my motives, the training has brought me a better understanding of children who face daily problems at home.  Various types of abuse, poverty, neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, and a litany of other troubles create a home life that is both depressing and dangerous for kids.  Children from these families respond in as many ways as there are personalities.  Often blaming themselves, their guilt and fear and anger may go in any direction.  I know of kids who turn all of it inward, essentially denying themselves any happiness or success.  Another response is to strike out at the people around them, feeling better, however briefly, for releasing their frustrations. 

     Today, we have daily shows and articles describing ways to make our children smarter, safer, cleaner, happier, and more fulfilled.  The differences between these well-loved kids and those who struggle to find food each day is so profound it is difficult to consider.  Maybe the lucky ones, like me, will reach out to less-fortunate children.  Whether it's out of guilt, compassion, or simple kindness, I don't really care, because in my county alone there are dozens of kids in foster care who need someone to speak for them.  I only hope I can do it right.



Denise said...

Hey Connie,
How does this work? Do you take these kids into your home temporarily? You have me interested in investigating this in my area.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there is so much to be said on this subject. Connie, you did a great job describing the problem,,, now I challenge you and others to talk about solutions, bridges, way to educate parents on how to parent, how to seek help for themselves, and so many other things to bring success in the lives of these human beings. Too many times, I see the problem without the freedom to attach solutions. That is where I feel the most frustration in dealing with these situations. I fear there are far many more abusive homes as time goes by than safe loving ones. I see far too many people turn a blind eye to so much that should be called out and brought into accountability but for what ever reason, it is often just left for "someone" else to deal with it. keep us updated on how it is going for you...and thanks for stepping up!