Resolving Child Welfare: A Journey Toward Better Coverage
At the end of September, Resolve Philly hosted an engaging event that brought together journalists, stakeholders, and community members to explore the complexities of the child welfare system. The event featured investigative reporter Steve Volk, who shared his experiences applying Resolve's values to the often-overlooked field of child welfare journalism; alongside Steve were panelists who brought both personal experiences with the child welfare system and professional insight into its workings.
Panelists included: Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney for the Family Advocacy Unit at Community Legal Services; Jamele Greenwood, community facilitator for the Philadelphia System of Care, a program of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services; Marcía Hopkins, social worker and member of Resolve’s Our Kids Vision Hub; and Marcus Jarvis, youth advocate, podcaster, and member of the Our Kids Vision Hub.
Steve shared his journey of embarking on a year-long assignment to cover the foster care system and quickly realizing the immense challenges journalism faces as related to the topic, such as closed courts and sealed records, and the reluctance of experts to engage with reporters because of past harms caused by media coverage. He highlighted the need for community-oriented, inclusive, and solutions-oriented journalism—principles that closely aligned with Resolve's ethos.
Panelists spoke about their experiences growing up or working in the child welfare system, areas where the system can improve, resources that would be helpful to families, and more.
The event also exemplified the stories of parents who faced challenges with the Department of Human Services, with whom Steve had built relationships, and highlighted the need for cross-disciplinary partnerships and community involvement to bring meaningful change to the child welfare system.