Board of Social Services to hold community round table annually
By Kathy Chaffin
The recent Child Well Being Community Roundtable will become an annual event.
Rowan County Board of Social Services members voted unanimously last week to hold the community round table annually, possibly expanding it to allow more time for discussion on improving services for children.
Director Sandra Wilkes said having the event annually will allow for open discussion of issues facing children as well as showcasing children’s services already in place. She recommended that the round table target families with very young children,
“It just seems that to target families with young children gives them support to maybe ward off some of the issues that show up as children get older,” she said. Drug use among children, for example, starts at a young age.
Wilkes suggested that an annual report on the well being of children be presented in conjunction with the round table. “It’s just to keep the needs of children in the forefront for everyone,” she said.
Board member Carl Ford said he would like to see a shorter version of the Child Well Being Roundtable presented to parents of middle school children. “There’s a lot of stuff in there that people need to know,” he said. “Most of all, parents need to hear it.”
Board member Lillian Morgan said one way to do that would be through the school PTAs. A problem with that, however, she said, is that the parents who need to hear about the services the most are not usually involved in school PTAs.
Ford also asked about compiling a booklet for parents on information presented at the round table similar to the booklet Project Safe Salisbury put out along with other community sponsors.
Jim Sides, who represents the Rowan County commissioners on the board, said there are all kinds of grants the department could apply for to cover the printing cost.
Wilkes said the recent public showing of a parenting video was made possible by a Robertson Foundation grant.
Held May 30, the Child Well Being Community Roundtable featured presentations by Dr. Jim Cowan of the Rowan County Health Department; child psychologist Jim Mallinson; consultant Rich Smith with the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Karen South Carpenter of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education; Child Protective Services program administrator Barbara Sharpe; and Salisbury Police Department gang investigator Todd Sides.
Rosie Allen of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, facilitator for the round table, said prevention efforts, information and education make a significant impact when addressing issues facing children. She noted programs already in place to help parents such as the Healthy Baby Coalition, Health Link, smoke-free initiative, the Multiple Response System and the new program between the school system and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College that makes a college degree a possibility for first-generation college-bound students.
In discussing next steps, Allen challenged participants to broaden stakeholders to include faith, civic and business partners; resolve as a community to address up to three issues from the round table; and convene the Child Well Being Roundtable annually, showcasing statistics and best practices.
Morgan recommended that next year’s community round table be scheduled at some time other than the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.
Also at last week’s board meeting, Wilkes announced that Ford and Morgan had been reappointed to second terms. Ford was reappointed by Rowan commissioners, and Morgan was appointed by the N.C. Social Services Commission.
Wilkes said staff members were pleased to hear of their reappointments. “They know that we have such a good board,” she said.