Our human service trade association, The Providers’ Council, has launched a new public awareness and lobbying initiative called “The Caring Force,” with the goal of increasing state funding for human services, including permanent yearly salary upgrading money for our direct care workforce. The main activity of the The Caring Force is to educate the public and the legislature about the importance of human services, with an emphasis on the high quality of our staff—their skills, training, compassion, hard work, and the difference they make in the lives of people in need.
As a board member of the Providers’ Council, I have been involved in the planning and development of this initiative; and I am very proud that it has come to fruition. We decided that our initiative can be most effective by creating a virtual online community that people in the human service field in Massachusetts—direct care staff, managers, administrators, volunteers, and board members—can join. The staff at the Providers’ Council have developed a website with a specific page for each member organization. I would encourage all of you to check out our ServiceNet page, and join—you can get to it through this link: http://thecaringforce.org/ServiceNet.
But joining is just the beginning. As you’ll see when you explore the website, people from all over the state are telling stories of challenges, successes, and amazing contributions to the quality of people’s lives. Our staff at the Providers’ Council are sharing these stories with our legislators, and with the media. Council staff are also tracking The Caring Force’s membership numbers and plan to publicize that information as well, so that people will know what a “force” we really are! We’re hoping that this will help legislators to understand that we are a voting block as well as an important “force” in improving the quality of life in Massachusetts.
I feel that this initiative has the potential to bring many positive changes to our industry, but only if becomes a large movement. To this end, I’m hoping that everyone in our ServiceNet community will join The Caring Force, and get involved. Together, we can help to make 2012 a better year for human services.