Notes from the Director
“We believe in things we’re told we cannot change
Why shouldn’t we?”
– Mary Chapin Carpenter
I love kids. I especially love four year old children that ask a thousand questions a day, 900 of them being “Why?” Maybe I never developed past four because I have been asking that same question all of my life.
When I was sixteen I started working at a “home for retarded children.” That was back in the 60’s and I asked why all these children weren’t in school. They told me there was no reason since they can’t learn.
I spent the next ten years working in the field of developmental disabilities. I witnessed – and participated in – a monumental change in thinking and systems called deinstitutionalization.
All children now are guaranteed the right to an education regardless of their ability level. Support services are available so children with special needs can stay at home and not reside in institutions. Early intervention programs like Family Outreach in Bozeman provide invaluable services.
I asked the same questions about the fields of child abuse and victim services. Who represents the child that has no voice? In Gallatin County we went from voiceless 25 years ago to every child being assigned a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) that works tirelessly for the best interests of each child.
In the early 1990’s there were no programs to help victims of violent crime, even though there had been programs for those who committed crimes for many years. Every state now has victims’ rights legislation and victims are recognized as an important voice in the criminal justice system.
So why are there children and families without a home? Why do people say there will ‘always be homelessness’? In Sweden cities are required to furnish homes for anyone without one.
Family Promise works daily to end homelessness. My hope is that someday we will all work ourselves out of a job, and our grandchildren will ask ‘is it true that there used to be shelters for people without a home?’ And we’ll say yes, but we’re better than that now. We’ve worked hard so that every child has a chance and every family has a home.
Why shouldn’t we?