This is a post by ToyA Johnson, FUAN Executive Director, and founder of Iowa Citizens For Justice, (DRC) Chairman. Her views are her own.
Hello, Greetings from FUAN, Welcome to 2019!
Last year was full of hard work and this year should be no different. However, this year I'm suggesting we work smarter. We made some moves, lost some battles and saw members of our organization ramp up the fight by taking our mission and message to the campaign trail.
We have been heard loud and clear around the state and the nation, so loud that people in high places heard us as well as others around the country in this fight.
As a result, the Family First Act passed in February 2018. This year will be even better if we use the momentum we have gained to reach our goals. Setbacks can be the set-up for an impressive victory. Those failures become the blueprint to success.
Now is the time we need you most! The new legislative body is in session. There are some old allies, old foes and new faces at the statehouse. However, many of them have been made aware of our fight. We have found great champions for our causes.
While we have not fully agreed on the processes of fixing everything, we have all agreed drastic changes need to be made to our Human Services agency and our judicial system as it relates to child welfare and Family Law issues that come before the court.
We will continue to collaborate with other individuals and organizations in areas where we can work together to accomplish our goals. Looking forward as we build a network of advocates, education, and information, our biggest asset is you!
Our DHS Reform Committee will be focusing on the conflict of interest within CPS, as well as our Access to Justice campaign. We believe these are essential to rebuilding our families and communities. We think that the renewal of past efforts along with assistance from new faces will get us over the hump.
We will also be seeking to bring back stalled legislation, introducing new legislation and follow-up with the government oversight committee on the audit and investigation of DHS Child Protective Services policy and procedures and wasteful spending in the department.
Some of our members will also be in this year's city council races around the state bringing the issues to the city level. So if there is an advocate in your area reach out to them. They need your help and support!
Our Shared Parenting advocates will be ramping up their efforts, as one of the Best Shared Parenting Bills in the nation was stalled in the house last year.
We are dedicated to preserving the mental health of children and their parents. We have done our homework and understand that children need both parents in their lives unless criminally unfit.
We will be working this year on simple yet powerful changes like changing the word “visitation” to “parenting time” and bringing the definition “father” into agreement throughout Iowa code.
They are also looking to do some expansions in services, so make sure you Like and Subscribe to our FUAN Participants Page.
Lastly, this year we plan to give more effort than last year, but to get the best results, we need you! Your efforts last year were good, but this year we need you to make them great. There are so many ways for you to get involved.
Here are some ways you can help:
Click the Like button on our Facebook
Donate to Support Family Law Reform
Sign up to Lobby
Join the FUAN Family Participants Group
Attend committee hearings
Call or email your legislators
Tell at least one person what is going on and to get them involved.
If we can recognize the trauma caused to children at the border, we should also acknowledge the trauma to the children of Iowa, many times separated from their parents unnecessarily and or placed with people worse than their families of origin. Let's do something about it.
Let's fight for our children, their families and protect their futures. We are all in this together.