“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Voices for Children is committed finding solutions to the problems facing Nebraska’s children through strategic collaboration. We have and will work toward collaborative solutions to the most pressing issues for children. At the same time, we are committed to being the outspoken voice for kids and do not shy away from disagreement or disharmony, instead, putting our trust that whatever challenges collaboration may bring, the end result will always achieve the wisest, most workable solutions for kids.
Nothing that we accomplish on behalf of kids in this state happens in isolation. Political influences and other outside factors always shape the conditions of the systems that we are trying to improve. Partner agencies add their voice and their own style to the ultimate outcome. Egos and differences of opinions among the can players get in the way. We seek to find common ground with others in spite of these differences to make big changes happen on behalf of kids.
Sometimes it’s hard to get all of the right players at the table at the beginning. Making sure all stakeholders are there and contributing is important. Leaving out a group of people – the voices of children, a service provider, an entire branch of government or the families that receive the services– diminishes the perspective that those individual groups bring to the whole.
Of all of the systems Voices for Children works on, the one that is most clearly in need of a renewed sense collaboration is child welfare. The problems of our child welfare system are great and no one organization has all of the solutions by itself. By coming together in a spirit of openness, creativity and collaboration, it is my sincere hope that we can find workable solutions to problems plaguing the system and make improvements that help Nebraska’s vulnerable children.
No one ever said collaboration is easy, and keeping a collaboration together is difficult. Sometimes, people feel they haven’t been heard, or disagree so greatly that they can’t find common ground or just get frustrated by the process and walk away from the collaborative effort. It takes a commitment to staying the course, no matter the perceived slights or disagreements, and a commitment to the big picture.
Knowing and having a goal in a collaborative effort is important. The path to achieving that end result may be bumpy and it may take twice as long to get to results, but the end product can be, almost certainly, much better.