FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

recognizes that community can only be created by community members, encapsulated by the culture, connection, and expertise that only communities can confront, make meaning of and co-create alternative ways of organizing and living. At the institutional or governmental level, re-branding of social care has happened throughout history. Yet, ever-present is the quicksand of people as objects on the receiving end of services. This quicksand captures people in a patriarchal mission of managing those affected by inequality as threats to privileged society and keeping them as small or unseen as possible. The whole reform of systems acts as a distraction from the more foundational need to reform government and institutionalized economic and racial inequality. While disassembling ‘the system is broken’ machine, it is essential to consider history so that we do not re-assemble something remarkably like what we have built before. Systems can be re-branded. Words and practices can be re- named and re-purposed. For example, from 1945 to 1973, the adoption scoop becomes 1997 to present priority on "Permanency" through adoption and guardianship. A focus on improving what already stands may yield minor changes but will not ultimately focus on financial, policy, or practice solutions defined by the community. Instead, we have a policing system built around needs and services. What would happen if the dollars invested in the policy and practice of existing formal systems were invested instead in families and communities who have, by the nature of their experiences, built the personal knowledge of health and wellness. 16 Community-built help and service is not a new idea but a return to the biologically consistent way of living amongst one another. People naturally gather, connect, and belong to the community as socially dependent organisms. Therefore, any help design should reflect this biology rather than breaking connections and replacing them with relational and cultural estrangement, programs, and therapies aided by sedating medications. Can the current system provide the natural connection, support, and meaningful help

to connect and strengthen families and communities? No, the needed connection is between families and communities, not between families, institutions, and industry. The recognizable examples and reforms, such as those identified above, demonstrate the biological inconsistency of large systems that focus on solving problems or providing for needs. 17,18 Likewise, human history and biological consistency require relationship, community, and personal agency at the heart of connection. Breaking these connections is not safe or helpful. On the contrary, it is dehumanizing and harmful. International aid research teaches us this two-fold. First, communities build connection and health. Once co-opted and defined by government or service provider powers, they are left in an echo chamber of industry- described community-like experiences, given tempo and importance by professional decision-makers. Amartya Sen, a winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for economics, acknowledges that the question is not what people might do with their capabilities but what freedoms people possess to do things they might do. Inequality is the word we use to make sense of Sen's insight about what poverty is. Poverty is a lack of access to material goods. What causes poverty is a lack of access to freedoms. In a hyper-capitalist society, money is a measure of freedom, and wealth provides access to greater freedoms from which one can act on their capabilities. Freedoms include those of ______________ 16 Burton, A. O., & Montauban, A. (n.d.). Toward Community Control of Child Welfare Funding: Repeal the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and De-link Child Protection from Family Well-Being . View of vol. 11 no. 3 (2021): Strengthened bonds: Abolishing the Child Welfare System and re-envisioning child well-being. Retrieved 8 May 2022, from https://journals.library. 17 Roots of Empathy. "Dr. Bruce Perry the Change in Relational Milieu in the Modern World." YouTube , YouTube, 3 Nov. 2016, watch?v=n5BmHdDL0iI. 18 Gil, Eliana, et al. “Chapter 3: The Role of Healthy Relational Interactions in Buffering the Impact of Childhood Trauma.” Working with Children to Heal Interpersonal Trauma the Power of Play , Guilford, New York U.a., 2013, pp. 27–28.

32 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022

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