My mom keeps telling me that I will need to change my sleeping schedule to more regular hours as I enter into more professional arenas. Waking up at 6:30 am this morning I decided that this is probably true. I got up before there was light this morning so that I could attend Children's Alliances' legislative breakfast in Spokane. This event both provoked me to better service and gave me a better perspective on on the shape of Washington's economy.
The event took place at the Native Project's wonderful facilitates. I got the opportunity to see many people who I have worked with from the School of Social Work at Eastern, Juvenile Court, and YFA Connections. Senator Lisa Brown also came and spoke.
We spent time looking at what Principles are needed for budget decisions in tough times. I found it particularly powerful to hear Representative Timm Ormsby described one of his views on budgets. He said that the things that we choose to fund in our budgets really show our values. The lobbyist for Children's Alliance, Teresa Mosqueda explained their five legislative focuses for the 2009 legislature. Lisa Brown talked about the six billion budget shortfall that Washington State is looking at and some of what that might mean for social service organizations.
One thing that I did not hear talked about was adolescents. There was a lot of focus regarding young children and there needs, but seemed to be lacking care for teenagers. The only lobby focus that Children's Alliance is having regarding teenagers would be health care coverage for every child by 2010 and foster care reform. Neither of these are focused on adolescents, they would just be helped as a type of by product. I firmly believe in programs focused on young children. This will elevate the need for some services when they become adolescents. This is a sort of macro focus for working with adolescents. We need to solve some of the issues that cause them to need services later in life. This is vital, but just as vital is to help those at risk youth now (a kind of micro and mezzo focus). We have a responsibility to continue to provide services to those who are right in front of us.