It’s not often that we get to celebrate a win as monumental as the passage of SB 6, the child protection bill. Celebrating that win – which will add 77 positions at DCYF over the coming years – was what drew dozens to the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 office on June 25. Joining the celebration were more than 20 SEA members from across the state; DHHS Commissioner Jeff Meyers, DHHS Associate Commissioner Chris Tappan; DCYF Director Joe Ribsam; and State Senators Donna Soucy, Dan Feltes, and Jon Morgan, the prime sponsor of SB 6.
The bill was the result of years of work – organizing, lobbying, and activism – that exemplify everything unions exist to do.
“Workers at DCYF have one of the most challenging and important jobs in state service – protecting our children. And yet you’ve found the time to attend meetings, take part in conference calls, contact legislators, and testify at the State House,” said SEA President Rich Gulla. “Your energy and determination are inspiring and essential, and we thank you.”
There were acknowledgments that this is just another step in the process. Indeed, simply adding positions isn’t going to fix a broken system. But it’s a big step in the right direction.
“Retention really is key, and I think that’s the next thing,” said Joanne Coles, a member at DCYF who spoke at the event and testified in support of the bill. “We have a bunch of positions that just got filled, I think, in every district office. We have some really good momentum to work towards improving culture in the offices and working on better self-care of us individually. I think that continued emphasis and positivity – along with the added resources – is going to allow us to (retain staff).”
We salute everyone who has pushed for positive change in DCYF over the past several years. We promise to be by your side as we move forward.
Published July 3, 2019