On Tuesday, August 21, Dr. William C. Bell, a national philanthropic leader joined us in St. Louis to share solutions to improve outcomes for children. Dr. William C. Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, presented a public forum on Faith Communities and Child Welfare. The forum is a part of a series of forums hosted by Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being called the Just for Kids (J4K) Community Conversations.
Bell identified approaches and pathways that can be taken to increase and improve community level collaboration for the well-being of the child, family and community thereby responsibly reducing the need for foster care in the St. Louis region. Casey Family Programs is the nation’s leading body in safely reducing the need for foster.
“As a part of our foundation’s mission, we are safely and responsibly reducing the need for foster care across the United States through activating faith communities and working collaboratively to meet the needs of our most vulnerable kids and families,” explains Bell. “The tools we are bringing to the Deaconess Center can be used to drive immediate change in St. Louis.”
Key community leaders including Rev. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO, Deaconess Foundation; Melanie Scheetz, Executive Director, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition; Hon. Michael Butler, State Representative and Deaconess Policy Board Co-Chair; Dr. Sue Stepleton, Child Advocate and Deaconess Center Board Vice President and Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Executive Director, Missouri Faith Voices joined with Bell to discuss the issues and work on solutions for the St. Louis region. Small group work sessions involving participants took place as a key part of the event.
“Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is here to and build power for citizens and advocates who work to ensure a more just community for kids in our region,” says Deaconess Foundation President and CEO Reverend Starsky Wilson. “Hosting Dr. Bell is an honor, and we hope this forum on Faith Communities and Child Welfare will catalyze faith-based action in the foster and adoptive care realm and beyond.”
The J4K Community Conversations, including Tuesday’s forum with Bell comes at a critical time. Over the last decade, poverty rates have risen on both sides of the Mississippi for the over 650,000 kids in Deaconess Foundation’s eight county grant-making footprint. The series is designed to catalyze change to improve conditions for kids in the region.
The J4K Community Conversations series is a set of public forums on topics that advance the work of child advocates through public policy and racial equity. The series is made possible with support from the estate of the late Mrs. Ruth and Rev. Carl C. Rasche, historian of The Deaconess Heritage and president emeritus of Deaconess Hospital, respectively.
Casey Family Programs Founded in 1966, Casey Family Programs (@CaseyPrograms) is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for children and families across America. Their mission is to provide for, improve, and ultimately prevent the need for foster care. Casey Family Programs works in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two territories and with more than a dozen tribal nations to influence long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live. Casey Family Programs learns from and collaborates with communities at local, state, tribal and national levels to nurture the safety and success of every child.
Upcoming J4K Community Conversations – 2018
September 20 – Equity, Growth, and Community: Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California
October 23 – How Change Happens: Leslie Crutchfield, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business