Educating the general public is a complex task. In general, the public has no desire to learn more about what the agency does. They believe that they do not have and will not have need for agency services. Thus, strategic communication with public stakeholders works best when targeted to specific groups within the general public.
- On a revolving-schedule basis, meet with social services agencies, parent-teacher organizations, service clubs, unions, spiritual leaders, and members of the business community to brief them about the agency’s successes and needs. Listen carefully to their issues and concerns. Let them know what they can reasonably expect from the agency and invite them to contact you with questions they may have concerning general agency policies and procedures, including perceived lapses in the implementation of those policies and procedures.
- Demonstrate the agency’s accountability for its use of the financial resources and authority given it to achieve child safety and family stability. Develop regular, unsolicited, one to two page reports that you can hand to stakeholders when you meet with them.
- Pro-actively look for and exploit potential strategies to actively engage members of the community in the work of increasing child safety. A person who contributes to reaching a goal is more likely to be an ally.
- Be absolutely clear that parents are responsible for rearing their children. The child protection agency only intervenes in a family situation when parents cannot or will not appropriately provide for the safety and well-being of their children and the Childrens Safety Net is unsuccessful in supporting the parents in this effort.