As the last of six children growing up in a small town, an “oops” baby born to older parents, I was raised by a crowd. My sisters, already in high school when I was born, were my second and third mothers.
I was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and “might-as-well-be” relatives who kept an eye on me whenever I wandered around downtown Sandersville, Georgia. In a place like that, I could rely on my extended family and my neighbors to keep me safe. And if anything had happened to my parents, I know my adult siblings would have cared for me.
Child welfare professionals are just catching back up to this concept: Government is not the best first responder to family crisis. Family is.
In the last four years, Georgia’s child welfare system has …