Inside Story

By Barnes, Sybil Walker | Policy & Practice of Public Human Services, December 2000 | Go to article overview

Inside Story


Barnes, Sybil Walker, Policy & Practice of Public Human Services


The holiday season is once again upon us. This is my favorite time of the year! Whether you decorate your home with a beautifully lit Christmas tree, eat latkes and light candles during the eight days of Hannukah, or carry out the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the holiday season transforms a period of short days and chilly weather into a time of warmth, generosity, and renewal.

We dress up our homes to welcome family and friends; we seek out gifts, carefully chosen and joyfully bestowed; old carols are sung once more; we generously remember and serve those who are less fortunate than we are; and our favorite holiday meal is served on a splendidly set table.

This is a magical time of year. It's a time we renew our spirits, voices chorus in harmony, children delight in stories of wonder, and we savor every precious moment.

Keeping the holiday season dynamic often means creating new traditions as well as invoking old ones. So just as there may be different holiday traditions each year, both new and old, each holiday season is different as well. Regardless of whether you use the same Christmas tree ornaments each year, somehow each Christmas tree is different. There are myriad ways in which latkes and other foods fried in oil can be incorporated into a meal, or even become the focal point of a party for Hanukkah. And each year, the list of activities celebrating Kwanzaa seems to grow in communities nationwide. For me and my family, this holiday season will be not only different but special--we will celebrate our first Christmas together with our new son.

Doing things differently is the theme of our cover story. Even states are finding different ways to deliver their services. In her article, "Child Welfare Waivers: What Are We Learning?" Jennifer L. Miller of Cornerstone Consulting Group in Providence, Rhode Island, looks at the funding flexibility of child welfare waiver projects. Across the country, with approved waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states are discovering new and different ways to achieve their child welfare goals of achieving permanent placements for children in their foster care systems, expediting decision-making among child welfare officials, and fostering interagency collaborations. …

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