Letter from Bob Watt, chair, Casey Family Programs Board of Trustees

How do we inspire change? When it comes to ensuring the safety and success of every child in America, the answer is we must do it together.

Change requires children and families in the hardest hit ZIP codes to believe a better future is possible beyond what they see around them.

Change requires local leaders to stand up and declare “enough” and to marshal all the forces of progress under a shared banner of hope – from the neighborhood school and community hospital to the cop on the beat and the church on the corner.

Change requires policymakers at all levels to tear down the silos that have created a fractured response to domestic violence, substance abuse, failing schools, lack of mental health services and economic isolation that rob too many children and families of the opportunities to achieve their dreams.

Change requires corporate America and philanthropy to create new and innovative partnerships with communities and invest together in broad-based efforts that can be measured and sustained.

At Casey Family Programs, we are committed to playing our part in creating that better future for all children and families. We call it 2020: Building Communities of Hope.

2020: Building Communities of Hope reflects a deep truth that we have come to understand through the nearly 50 years of serving children and families, both directly and through our partnerships with our nation’s child welfare system: You cannot ensure the safety of children without strengthening their family, and you cannot support the strength of a family without improving the conditions in their community.

We recognize that change is not easy, but it is necessary. As an organization, we have taken on the challenge of developing new and innovative approaches to our work while remaining true to the same mission that has guided us from the start – giving all children the opportunity to grow up safe, strong and loved.

We have done this difficult task so that each of us – from the boardroom in Seattle to the living rooms of the families we partner with in communities across America – can remain laser-focused on the part we play in creating long-lasting and positive change.

Casey Family Programs has come to see Building Communities of Hope as a powerful theory of change, not just in the child welfare system, but in all of our nation’s efforts to create opportunities for children and families to thrive.

In the following pages, you will read about how communities across this nation are thinking, planning and acting differently to create real and lasting progress. You will read about specific examples that point the way toward success.

This is how a bold vision for change will produce results, even when conventional wisdom says it isn’t possible.

The expectation that we can and will do better for our children and our communities is the essence of hope. We think Jim Casey would agree.


Bob Watt