Leadership, Voice, and Vision

for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice in New York State

June 2, 2020 – Special Statement from Jim Purcell, President and CEO, on behalf of COFCCA

The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and our member agencies stand in unity with those among us who have been oppressed and victimized. The nonprofit organizations which comprise the membership of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies work every day to strengthen families and children, most of whom are poor, disadvantaged, and too often discounted by our society in countless ways. So very many of these families are people of color who continue to face the added trauma of fear of the kinds of tragedies we saw so vividly in Minneapolis a few days ago. We cannot be silent. All of us must stand up and speak clearly on behalf of our clients, our staff, our communities, and ourselves. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer is unacceptable in a sane and fair society. And that coming after a list of similar travesties, this is not just one more. We need to demand that it be the last one. This evil must stop, and those responsible must be held accountable.

And lest we think “this is so far away” let us note the reprehensible video of the white woman confronting an African American man in Central Park, making a clearly false report to the police. Her demonstration of white privilege was a clear example of the work we need to do. That being said, while we are concerned about public safety during times of civil unrest, we must never take the focus off of the brutal behavior of the officer who sparked the flames of outrage and protests.

This has been a horrible time in our country. There is a dangerous virus infecting millions and killing so many, including, once again, a disproportionate number of black and brown people. Millions are out of work, with serious questions of how long it will take for the economy to replace those jobs. This is not the time to be meeting budget challenges by making cuts which will continue the disinvestment in these communities. Our society, and our government, must not turn their backs on those most severely hurt by all of these disasters. We have learned much working with traumatized children. We have learned that with a little support and guidance they can be amazingly resilient. As Martin Luther King Jr once said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That is true. It is up to us to bend the arc much faster.

Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies

The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA) is the principal representative for nearly all the not-for-profit organizations providing foster care, adoption, family preservation, and juvenile justice services in New York State. COFCCA is comprised of over 100 member organizations, ranging in size from small community based programs to the nation’s largest multi-services agencies — all of which share the mission of serving children and families. COFCCA works with its members and government to ensure quality services for children and their families.