I was invited to speak last week to a group of future lawyers, earning their degrees at Nova Southeastern University. They were curious about how the legal process works its way out on the human side. They had been studying how the law protects children and how the judicial system interacts with all the social service providers to help keep kids safe. As questions came, I asked them to think about what happens to a child the day after a headline reads: “Murder / suicide leaves 7 year old boy hospitalized” That’s when the ‘system’ kicks in – right? No more dad or mom, no more older brother there to comfort. Who visits this boy in the hospital? Who tells him that he is safe and that everything is going to be alright?
It certainly is not the ‘system’ — it looks more like a man named Andre, our director at SafePlace. I remember meeting Andre 13 years ago in a Guardian ad Litem training class. He had a huge heart to protect kids and an infectious smile. A year later, I asked if he’d ever considered mentoring fatherless boys – he took me up on it and invests in that young man’s life to this day. A few years later I asked him if he’d ever consider moving into a house with 5 teenage foster boys and be their ‘dad’ — he took me up on it. A few years later, after he married and was raising a daughter of his own, I asked him if he’d like to lead our team at SafePlace – he took me up on it. And so it seemed a good idea to ask Andre to visit this 7 year old boy in the hospital, even though it wasn’t part of his ‘job’ — and as always, he took me up on it.
He showed up on Friday and in one of his first conversations, the young boy asked “Do you promise to be here the whole weekend?” And Andre said yes. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Andre was there every day – talking, laughing, praying, and crying with a broken little boy who needed HOPE. I told this group of anxious young lawyers last week that this is the best ‘picture’ I could give them of what 4KIDS does in the ‘system.’ It is the human touch. So for the 15 kids who were removed from their homes and taken to SafePlace on Monday, for the 15 on Tuesday, the 12 on Wednesday and the 14 on Thursday, I am glad Andre is there – leading a team of compassionate agents of HOPE – bringing healing to the brokenhearted.
Until Every Child Has A Home,