Return to Krista's Korner

"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yes, this is an inactive blog

Blame Facebook. Blame life.  Blame me, since I am definitely for personal responsibility.  I have deleted a lot of stuff (mainly trying to get rid of a nagging malware warning.).  I am leaving the blog up, but I am deleting most of the site.  My life has moved and changed.  My responsibilities have changed.  I am working on getting the Arizona Children's Legislative Advocacy Network up and running.  I am working on making Southwest Network a leader in children's behavioral health.


I am especially enjoying my garden and home:





Peace, and I am still on the net, but really, most of my stuff is on Facebook.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Formal Announcement

Vive l'Internet! Through the magic of the internet, it is much easier to let all those interested and asking that yes, Chris and I are getting married, and a date has been set.


When we got engaged in 2008, Chris and I had a much larger wedding we started planning that included all our nearest and dearest. We made a decision to buy the house instead, and have not regretted it. This has put the larger, more inclusive plans on the shelf for around 2-3 years.


We now, as many of you know, need to change our legal status for multiple reasons.  After discussions, we decided to not just do a JP wedding, and are having a simple ceremony on April 11th. It is going to be very small and no frills. This puts us in the unenviable position of letting our dear friends and Ohana know that by the very nature of our plans, we can't invite all those we would love to have join us on this special day. Those we are inviting have been notified, and we can promise pictures for the rest.


We are keeping this very simple, and do not have plans to register anywhere. We are open to planning a house party with friends in the future to celebrate, but have not made any decisions about that at the moment. We thank you for respecting the choices we have made, and appreciate questions, encouragement, and love from everyone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Politics as usual

Our current state political situation is a mess. We do not have a budget. People are losing vital services, including medical care. They are closing entire departments of the state government. Decisions are being made that will negatively affect the state for decades.
My job is in danger. Chris' job is in danger. My children's welfare is in danger. The people are starting to rise up, but no one in a position of power is listening.
Via PAFCO:

Imagine the Jobing.com arena full of the children turned away from child care for their working parents this year. The Legislature is filling every seat with a child denied care and their parents standing by, not able to work.  That doesn't make economic at all. These types of cuts are not solutions. Push back and resist these types of cuts.  They don’t make any economic or humane sense.  Contact your legislators.  There are options.  (By the way, the number of children denied care will exceed 17,000, while their parents lose work or go on public assistance (if that still exists).
OTHER proposed Human Services cuts
·         10,000 families (most female-headed) with 17,000 children are proposed to lose cash assistance --- for families already by definition very poor driving these families into deeper poverty effective April 1, 2010 if passed by the Legislature.  This is an attack on some of the poorest of the poor with no where else to turn.  Results will be increased homeless, desperation, illness, and family dislocation. 
·         11,000 on child care turn away list with many more to be turned away from child care with child care permanently closed for the foreseeable future stopping families from working and putting children at risk.
·         No 100% investigations of child protection or adult protection referrals and continued elimination of family support services.   The system of in home family services has already been cut severely in the 2009/2010 cuts and will now be cut even with more families losing services and their children potentially going into foster care.
·         Cuts in emergency services (eviction prevention, homeless prevention, etc) services for families in crisis effecting meaning 1,100 fewer families will receive emergency services.
·         Cuts in domestic violence services reducing service to 1,600 victims of domestic violence will be turned away from shelters.
·         Cuts in aging independent living services impacting hundreds of elderly and people with disabilities.
·         Eliminate support for grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
·         Eliminate state only supported services for children and adults with developmental disabilities throwing 300 children and 400 adults off services. 
·         Elimination of the Department of Juvenile Corrections transferring youth to county detention centers in the counties throwing almost 900 people out of work and dumping these youths on the local governments already overburdened with their own budget problems.
·         Implementation of many new fees and means testing for programs like adoption services for children with disabilities, services for children and adults with disabilities --- potentially leaving many children and adults at serious risk and costing more downstream as high cost services are used.  
·         A summary of proposed cuts and implications for the Department of Economic Security can be found at https://egov.azdes.gov/cmsinternet/uploadedFiles/Office_of_Communications/FY11_Executive_Recommendation.pdf?n=1089  

So what can a person do? I am trying to organize the power of a unified voice, but my time is limited. The children's advocacy network I am organizing is growing faster than I can keep up with it. Individual voices make a difference. Call, write, visit your legislators. Find out who represents you and what they stand for. If you don't like it, work to get someone in office who does represent you. Talk to people. The average person is too busy to pay attention until it impacts them directly. Guess what? This years budget will impact you directly, no matter who you are.

Political processes are not some far off thing. They are directly affected by us and are accessible to us. I will break down some of the ways to have a voice in upcoming posts.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dodgeball Tournament


Dodgeball Tournament, originally uploaded by katydaqueen.

So, I got to attend my first event as a High School mom. Konal signed up on a dodgeball team for a fundraising tournament. He will freely admit he can't throw, but is great at blocking and dodging. So it was, as he was last one left in both of the rounds. Unfortunately, his team still lost.

Meanwhile, car related incidents keep racking up. Yesterday it was a flat tire and today I locked my keys in my car. This wouldn't have been a huge issue, because it was at the QT within walking distance of the house, and we were running early. Unfortunately, there were three major issues. The first is that I only have 1 set of keys after a dastardly thief stole Chris' bag when he had car trouble last fall. Thanks to modern electronics, a replacement set puts us out over $100.
The second issue is that I locked my phone in the car as well. We had other cellphones available, but roadside assistance is tied to my phone.
The third is that Chris had just had his windshield replaced and wasn't supposed to drive yet.
Family to the rescue! Mom wasn't picking up her phone, but Cousin Katie came to the rescue and took the boys to the tournament. Chris came to the QT and I called the Tow truck from his phone, which also has roadside assistance. I had to call Verizon first, because when they switched Alltel to Verizon, they changed numbers for roadside assistance and it wasn't in our Alltel phones.

The good news? For the first time ever, the guy was earlier than projected by dispatch, unlocked, and I was able to get to the tournament in time to see my boy lose with panache and dignity. All is well that ends well, but I am so not leaving the house tomorrow! ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Call for Mental Health Advocacy


My dear friends, peers and colleagues, As you are probably aware of, the state of Arizona is undergoing a challenge in regards to budget and income.

Cuts are taking place throughout the state that are potentially devastating to families. Many social service and children’s system advocates are already making their presence known to lawmakers at the capitol, trying to make them aware of the human cost of these cuts, the long range increase in costs be taking away preventative services, and pushing the idea that there are other ways of dealing with the current funding issues than lump sum cuts.

One of the missing pieces of this puzzle is a united advocacy effort for Children’s Mental Health. The pieces are there, but no one has tied them together. With some of the access avenues for families to attain services being cut or threatened, such as non-title 19 funds and KidsCare, the urgency for a united voice for families has exponentially increased.

I would like to start the ball rolling on this, but I can’t do it alone. I would like to put together a few different things, like a legislative alert mailing list, a citizen’s advocacy training on how to approach legislators, and a day at the Legislature.

If you would like to be involved, or have something you can contribute to this effort, please let me know at kris.long@gmail.com or 623-570-7232 This can be done on volunteer time with no funding, but one person can’t do it alone. Please distribute this, and we can let the Capitol know the importance of Children’s Mental Health services to Arizona's future!

Krista Kathryn Long, BSW Parent & Advocate

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ob La Di Ob La Da..

And life goes on. Yes, it has been since September. A lot has happened in that time. The rain is falling and the weather is changing around here. It seems like a good time to write.

First, I know you are dying to know. We moved right before Thanksgiving, and the time since then has been full of the joy of living in a half finished house. Today is cleaning day, and that is a challenge, since there are still unpainted walls to be tackled. Because of the move, I was without internet consistently for about 2 months. That was interesting, and definitely contributed to my silence.



Konal is still living at his dad's house. He has asked to change that many times, but decided not to at the last minute. The drama gets interesting, but he is doing well, and I am very proud of him.

Aidan has adjusted to his new Arts Charter school. I'm having trouble adjusting to the 7 mile drive to drop him off and pick him up. I have cobbled together a network of making sure he gets there and home when I have to work. Last week he brought home an award for most improved. This is the first award he has gotten since preschool for academics. I am proud of him as well.

Chris and I are adjusting to life together. Like any couple, we have our moments, but they are fleeting. We are struggling with money because of the house and the debt we incurred to renovate, mainly. It will get better- the fun part is just trying to keep gas in the vehicles and eating while we figure it out.

I am finally an official college graduate. My degree arrived last week. I got a pleasant surprise when my work reimbursed some of the tuition as well. I am persistent if anything. I am now studying for the GRE and trying to figure out where the money is going to come for licensure. It is not a cheap process.

I am not sure what I am going to do for my master's. ASU has a dual MSW/Masters of Public Policy program that I am eying. I wanted to go to Portland Oregon, but life has settled down here and it would be wrong to uproot the family. Although, with the political and financial state of AZ, I am tempted with leaving.

Jobs are still touch and go. There are threats to funding every week, and it has come down to a "what will be, will be" kind of attitude. I am still uninsured, and they are threatening to cut KidsCare, which would affect Aidan as well. Chris and I may have to get married, but it will hurt us financially at a time we are fragile. It is all one great big balancing act.

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr day, Chris & I took Aidan (with his willing agreement) to the Human Rights March against Arpaio and racial profiling.

I am for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. I don't believe we have enough acceptable ways for desperate people to do it the right way. I am for basic human and civil rights. The march was peaceful, but we had some violence where we were at when a self-professed Anarchist faction started pushing into the police and causing trouble. Chris and I started getting Aidan out of there. One of the dangers for standing up for what you believe in. I am proud to have marched, and so sore now- it was about 8 miles round trip.

From Human Rights March
Heading back to the car post march. "Obama: Where is the reform?"

And life goes on....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quote #2

The non-violent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the heart and souls of those committed to it. It gives them a new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality. - Martin Luther King

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Excellent Quote

Consider today whether you are being called to a new capacity of loving that you would never find if it were not for this relationship. Once you exercise fear and make it your practice, once you try resentment and make it your habit, once you employ aggression and make it routine, those actions will dominate your destiny. No matter how painfully uou've been wronged, stand in love in the midst of a huge temptation to be vengeful, prideful, or hold back. The real nature of love is that the person you think has betrayed you the most is actually an agent of the divine offering you the opportunity for grace. - Mary Manin Morrissey

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Activism- sometimes small, sometimes big...

I can't keep my big mouth shut, eh?

Arizona Moves Backward on Health Care Coverage

Nearly 10,000 Parents Slated to Lose Coverage September 30

(Phoenix, AZ) Although Arizona is operating without an adopted, balanced budget in place for this fiscal year, state agencies are implementing dramatic budget cuts that endanger children and families throughout our state. Due to a failure of the legislature to appropriate funding for KidsCare Parents, nearly 10,000 working parents are scheduled to lose their health insurance on September 30, 2009.

“It is outrageous that our legislature would propose permanently cutting taxes on the one hand while simultaneously eliminating health insurance for nearly 10,000 working parents on the other hand,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance (CAA). “When parents have health insurance, they are more likely to take their kids to the doctor for the checkups they need, and when parents can keep themselves healthy, they are better able to care for their children,” added Naimark. “Eliminating KidsCare Parents moves Arizona in the wrong direction.”

Parents began receiving notification in the past week that their insurance would end in just over a month. Many were shocked and uncertain where to turn. “I had not heard that KidsCare Parents was in jeopardy,” said Krista Long, a parent who receives health insurance through KidsCare Parents. “With KidsCare Parents, I don’t have to choose between my medication and food, like I used to,” she added. “When I received notification that my coverage was ending, my stomach hurt and I panicked. I don’t know what I will do without KidsCare Parents.”

In fact, there are few or no places for these parents to turn to find affordable health coverage. Most do not have coverage through their employers or the premiums are more than they can afford. Many have no options in the private market due to pre-existing health conditions.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which administers KidsCare Parents, informed parents losing coverage they may wish to contact Community Health Centers, which don’t offer health insurance but provide primary health care services on a sliding fee scale. However, CHCs are also facing limited funding at a time of increased need.

“Arizona’s Community Health Centers provide quality primary and preventive health care for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, regardless of whether they have health insurance,” said Tara McCollum Plese, Director of Government and Media Relations for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. “However, drastic cuts in state funding that allows CHCs to provide services to the uninsured on a sliding fee scale has created an increase in the number of uncompensated visits for our members,” added Plese. “The elimination of KidsCare Parents health insurance coverage for nearly 10,000 working parents will strain the Community Health Centers even further.”

As of August 1, 2009, 9,564 Arizona working parents with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level – or about $44,000 for a family of four – were enrolled in KidsCare Parents. Parents pay premiums up to $100 a month for their own coverage. Of the remaining funding, 76% comes from the federal government, with the state paying $60 to $70 per month per parent. Under current federal law, Arizona can continue receiving this strong level of federal support for KidsCare Parents through at least October 2011, although the matching rate may decline slightly after that.

“State lawmakers who voted for wiping out this parent coverage need to understand the real life consequences of their budget cuts,” Naimark concluded. “Families will suffer damage to their health, expensive emergency room visits will put more strain on hospitals, and many families will be forced to quit their jobs and spend down their savings so that they qualify for AHCCCS Medicaid coverage. At that point, parents will not pay any premiums, federal funding will go down, and the cost to the state budget will go up.”

Children’s Action Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of all of Arizona’s children and their families through research, policy development, media campaigns and advocacy. www.azchildren.org.

Health Care Resources for Arizona’s Low-Income and Uninsured Families

Children’s Action Alliance offers a directory of health care resources available to low-income and uninsured families in Arizona at http://www.azchildren.org/MyFiles/PDF/2008%20Health%20Manual%20-%20FINAL%20ENGLISH%20-%20updated%202-09.pdf

This resource manual provides information on Community Health Centers, medical discount programs, and discounted clinics throughout the state.

To contact any of the following parents receiving health insurance through KidsCare Parents, please contact Children’s Action Alliance:

Krista L., of the West Valley, is a single mother of two children who overcame homelessness and graduated from college. Krista has a chronic health condition, and works part time so she can be home in the afternoons with her son who has disabilities. She fears she may have to further drop her work hours so her income is low enough for her to qualify for Medicaid through AHCCCS.

Susan S. works full time for a company providing support to attorneys. She does not have insurance through her employer. Her son was born with a variety of life-threatening heart conditions that require monitoring and treatment. Susan also has health issues that require attention. Thanks to KidsCare coverage for them both, they have been able to stay active and Susan has been able to work to provide for her family.

Robyn G. works full time providing home care for her elderly aunt. Her husband loves working in construction. Neither have health coverage through their jobs. They live with their two teenage children; one has special medical needs. Thanks to KidsCare, their children have their own doctor. They have all gotten the treatment they need to stay healthy and stay out of the emergency room. Robyn doesn’t know what they will do without KidsCare coverage for her and her husband.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dispelling Myths

I know Patrick professionally- he is a medical Social Worker. Tonight he tweeted something that struck a nerve: "I am tired of doctors and people today acting like I have a worthless degree... so I am out of here... It has been a real hard day!!!" (Sorry, Patrick for copying without asking first).
This struck a chord with me.
I remember when I went to school, when people asked me what I was getting my degree in, I would get these sighs and "I'm sorry" or "you are a better person than I" when I said Social Work.
I also deal with the lack of respect for the degree, which is considered a professional degree and a type of licensure in and of itself.
No one seems to know what a Social Worker is, or what we do. I think it is hard because there is a lot of variety in the preofession. I know that people assume that Social Workers take kids away, and the archetype of the bad or burned out Social Worker is ever present and reinforced in the media.

According to the National Association of Social Workers, the definition of a Social Worker is:
Social Work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, or communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. Social Work practice consists of the professional application of Social Work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve processes. The practice of Social Work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interactions of all these factors.

Wikipedia has more on standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_work

You have questions, I want to hear them. Doing my part to promote my profession and have people congratulate me instead of pity me.

And yes, I had a bad day too....