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Are We Ready? 9/05/2018

“I don’t wanna grow up. . . I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid!” Blockbuster, Borders, General Foods, Sports Authority, Circuit City, and most recently. . .Toys R Us, which shuttered all of its doors this past June, liquidating the few remaining assets they had. As much as Amazon was to blame for the demise of another industry giant or that more children were choosing to play with iPads then with Legos and dolls, the problems with Toys “R” Us were present long before. 
A major problem was unsustainable debt – somewhere in the billions of dollars. The second and perhaps bigger problem was not adapting to the changing environment, which included the rise of online retail and the use of technology. Toys “R” Us never recovered in incorporating fresh ideas, such as adding playrooms to allow children to try out toys or have birthday parties. They never lowered prices, their return policies were behind many of their competitors, and quite simply, their stores had a reputation of being disorganized and unsanitary. The list goes on, but ultimately, Toys “R” Us failed to respond to the new environment of consumerism.
There’s a similar movement going on in child welfare, specific to residential care. How do we avoid becoming the Toys “R” Us of this realm? Other agencies in Michigan have scaled back their residential programs tremendously or closed their doors entirely.  And many other agencies, including us, are bracing for major changes that will be taking place because of Families First as well as the budgetary cuts that are taking place on the federal level. Similar to how Obamacare upended the health care system in our country (though much of it has been gutted), Families First will have a similar effect on child welfare.
Are we ready? Is the greater child welfare industry ready? Ready or not, our industry is changing and we all need to be ready to change with it for the sake of the children we serve. In upcoming blogs we will examine new dynamics and imperatives and the best way forward as MCHS continually evolves and adapts to serve its mission to the fullest. Next time: more on Families First.

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