GUELPH POLITICAST #241 – The Real Work of Helping Children and Families

There was a gathering of people in Riverside Park in late August, and even though they said that they didn’t identify with QAnon, they still knew all the buzzwords like “save the children”. And then, one of the counter protestors said something interesting: “Why don’t these people, if they’re so concerned about child welfare, volunteer with a local organization that does just that?” Good idea!

In that spirit, this week’s episode of the podcast features Sheila Markle, the executive director of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County. FCS used to be known as the Children’s Aid Society, but the name change was meant to flush away the old image of a child care worker forcibly taking a kid from his or her home after one negative report, the type of scene that launched so many “Lost Love” stories from Unsolved Mysteries.

In fact, nearly 99 per cent of children under FCS care remain at home with their families, and it’s only in circumstances where there are no family, relatives, or other type of personal connection that children end up in care. FCS offers clinical support, parenting groups, foster parents, and adoption opportunities, but working with children can be difficult at the best of times, so how as FCS been coping with the added anxiety of COVID-19 and public health crisis on their usual workload?

That’s one of the questions we’ll ask Merkle, along with a broader discussion about the work that she and her staff do, how the work has changed over the years, and where things currently stand in terms of the demand and requests for assistance. Of course, we will also discuss the effects of COVID, what kind of help FCS is looking for from the general public right now, and what kind of help their clients need in these difficult times.

So let’s learn more about helping children and families here in our own backyard on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!

To find out more about the work of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, or to learn how you can get involved, or what kind of volunteer assistance they need, you can go to their website.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Photo Credit: Sheila Markle signing the VTRA protocol (Violence Threat Risk Assessment) with community partners last May (via FCS’ Twitter page).

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