Children’s Rights Board member Joe Belluck — a founding partner in the law firm Belluck & Fox — describes his dedication to reforming child welfare, and what inspires him to be a part of CR.
CR: What made you get involved with Children’s Rights?
Joe: I was motivated by the plight of kids in foster care. My sense was that this was one way to try to improve their quality of life, their safety and their well-being. I had also come to learn that people I knew had been in the foster care system. I’m a big believer that every kid deserves a safe upbringing, education, support and love. It seemed to me that joining CR was an opportunity to help protect kids and keep them free from abuse.
CR: What is your biggest takeaway, having served on the CR Board since 2011?
Joe: I’ve been very shocked at the level of mistreatment and abuse that kids in foster care experience. I’ve also been very surprised at the forms some of that abuse takes, in particular the overmedication of a lot of these kids. I had no previous concept of that.
CR: Why is it important to use the law to spur reform?
Joe: If you believe in social change you have to operate on two levels. There are people who are foster parents, making a difference because they’re good parents on an individual level. But you need a systemic effort, too. CR is providing that kind of pressure so that these systems improve and don’t continue to spiral downward.
CR: Why should people support CR?
Joe: It’s an absolute necessity to hold government agencies accountable. And particularly in this situation, when you’re dealing with kids, it’s a moral imperative that the foster care system is held accountable. Anybody who is in a position to support CR should get involved. There are many kids in our country who have literally no family and no support. People should do what they can to change that.
Read additional articles in Notes from the Field, the Children’s Rights Newsletter: