Day one

Despite not having my luggage I still managed to get out to my first appointment today. After phoning American Airlines for half an hour I realised it was unlikely my suitcase would arrive before 2pm so I decided not to waste any more time and found my way to the nearest subway. After taking the ‘wrong direction but the right line’ several times I managed to get to City Square and make my way to the Administration for Children’s Services ACS a little bit later than scheduled. I made my way though the marbled entrance hall, through security and was greeted on the 16th floor with friendly smiles from Philip Flint (City Time Admin) and Willie Maye Jnr -(Administrative Director). I have been in contact with them for a couple of months now and was keen to get an insight into the city’s child welfare agency. Willie spoke to me for over an hour on his time at ACS and how it had evolved over the last 17 years and how it serves as an umbrella covering different of family support services. They specialise mainly in child protection but they do work in preventative approaches too. Willie Maye has been working for ACS for 26 years and was originally only meant to be there for two. This was definitely a man who knew the service from a central ‘top down’ view. We had fun comparing acronyms and how even though we had different names for things like ‘bids for tender’, ‘CAF’ ‘protection plan’ ‘Ofsted’ the principles and the needs remain the same, we shared a lot in common in the way of approach to delivering services. One glaringly different service though was the NHS and how in the UK Early Start is required to join family support workers in meeting new births. He was interested in Health visitors and whether Will and Kate had received this service, I said it was highly likely as it was a statutory requirement for health visitors to meet all parents, especially first time parents.
The USA does have a the social benefit system but don’t have working/child tax credits. I aim to transcribe all the interesting points on this bit soon but am struggling without a keyboard and jet lagged eyelids.
Private family services are big in the city as well as head start and early head start centres (government) they are funded by ACS . More on this later and the ‘buy in’ scheme charities have to apply for in order to keep a-float.
Hope to keep up to date on my blog, it’s a bit difficult without my suitcase with all the important chargers etc.
meanwhile have a look at the photos first view this morning. Meet my new friend the gorgeous tabby cat Patricia-Sue (PS for short) she’s got the biggest eyes, almost looks like an owl! She’s already done face time to Leeds.
Very tired now and it’s only 7pm.
Night .

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