Chipping away at the barriers to success: Dr. William C. Bell delivered the opening address at the Prairie Child Welfare Consortium Symposium in Canada
President and CEO Dr. William C. Bell delivered the opening keynote address at this year’s Prairie Child Welfare Consortium Symposium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
With the symposium’s theme being “Reinvesting in Families: Securing a Brighter Future,” Bell cautioned against being victim to the pull of history.
“If we don’t know what to do to truly invest in families, we can learn; but if we are bound by our own history – by our legacy and what’s always been done – then we will fail to secure a brighter future for children and families,” Bell said.
He said that, unless we are willing to tackle the tough questions, we won’t get the results or the change we say we want to see for children and families. He encouraged the audience to ask themselves: What’s stopping me, my organization and my government from doing what’s right for vulnerable children? What are we doing that’s in compliance with not only what’s written in law, but that’s in compliance with what’s in our hearts also?
Bell advised that a conversation of collective voices be created that address the issues impacting children and families and recognize their strengths. “We have to see what’s possible in our young people,” Bell said.
“Like a sculptor, our job is to chip away at the things that are covering up their potential to become what’s possible. We have to move forward in spite of what we currently see. It doesn’t matter what life looks like today, because someday it will change for the better; not because of circumstances, but because of hope.
The Prairie Child Welfare Consortium is a network that engages university educators and researchers, government and Aboriginal administrators, policymakers and service delivery agents who are dedicated to advancing and strengthening child welfare education and training, research, policy development, practice, and service delivery in the three prairie provinces – Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Bell also participated in separate meetings, engaging in conversations with management and staff from the Alberta Human Services Ministry, the 10 Child and Family Services Authorities reporting to the ministry, and provider agencies. Bell led an open dialogue about working together to improve child welfare and leading and implementing shifts in thinking and action to ensure child well-being.