Every organization has a set of values, towards which we should strive each day. Here at Crittenton, there are a few I’d like to highlight:
“We believe that every child is entitled to healthy relationships and a loving family.”
“We conduct ourselves with honor and decency, respecting the children and families we serve.”
“We tend to our relationships with each other.”
At first glance, these may seem fairly standard – a baseline for common decency, particularly for a child welfare organization. Who could possibly object? These days, honestly, sometimes our differences seem to be driving a wedge, which can make the above statements more challenging to put into action. Let me explain.
We humans, after all, are messy by definition. We are selfish and stubborn. We have strong opinions, and usually forget to listen to differing views or experiences. I’m guilty, for sure.
So, yes, every child deserves a safe and loving family. But one nonprofit can’t possibly serve every child. We couldn’t sustain it. So the concept extends to every type of child: the older ones who hate being called ‘child’, those with addictions, those who make risky decisions or who have developmental delays. ‘Every child’ includes the rebellious kid, the one who skips school. We welcome all ethnicities; we care for gay and lesbian or bisexual kids along with the straight ones. Showing respect means learning to use pronouns according to a child’s wishes.
Building safe and loving families involves walking through complicated conflict and making space for all points of view. Treating others with honor and decency requires work to understand the implications of mental health challenges and being willing to enter into complex and courageous conversations with the person sitting on the other side of the table.
Is this really all that difficult? It doesn’t need to be. The best lesson my children ever taught me (and I was a parent who needed to learn many, many lessons) was that it is better to be kind than right. I wanted to be right, I really did. I still do. I desperately want to be right.
It is more beneficial, however, to be kind. So this is my goal. My faith motivates me in this effort. You may be driven by a desire to be a good neighbor, or a stand-up citizen. Whatever brings you to the table, welcome. But once here, we must all tend to our relationships with one another: service providers and clients, neighbors, friends and family.
At Crittenton, we see your ethnicity and celebrate how this makes you unique. We welcome LGBTQ clients: children and parents. We seek to understand how your identity, your religion, disability, gender, or politics influence your worldview and the ways in which this may put you in harm’s way. We confess our mistaken assumptions or misguided approach to working with different types of clients, different types of people, and we commit to educating ourselves about how your unique experience may mean that not all interventions we use are helpful for you. So, we’ll continue to show up, to think creatively, and to persist until – together – we find a methodology that works for you and your family.
As CEO, I am thankful for a board and a workforce who are committed to these efforts. I am thankful for a community who supports and joins us in our work, for families who become resource parents in our foster care program, and for volunteers who tirelessly care for clients we serve through your gifts of time and resources. Every child, parent, family, and person has dignity and value. Be proud of who you are, because who you are is pretty great.
Mr. Greg Eubanks, CEO, of Crittenton Services, has more than 25 years of experience in the child welfare and mental health fields as both a senior operating director and organizational leader for various nonprofits. He began his career in 1994 at a large multi-agency nonprofit headquartered in Texas where he continued to progress as Area Vice President. In 2014, he became President and CEO of a Seattle-based adoption agency until his most recent career appointment prior to Crittenton Services. Mr. Eubanks comes with a wealth of expertise in family preservation, community-based programs, strategic planning, program development, and performance management. In addition, he also holds a Master’s in Marriage, Family Counseling and Education, is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) Practitioner, and has been a speaker at national and international conferences.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a nonprofit child welfare and mental health organization whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966, Crittenton has an experienced and dedicated workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive mental health services, shelter care, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a continuum of care programming effort that includes short-term residential, family preservation, integrated behavioral health, wraparound services, outpatient mental health, school-linked mental health, transitional age youth programming, and foster care services with a service plan area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.