Mission And Value Focus:
The primary purpose of your agency’s public relations program is to support and further the attainment of your agency’s mission. To the extent that it serves this purpose, your public relations program is successful. To the extent to which it does not, the program is inadequate and ineffectual. Looking at the Lorain County Children Services (LCCS) mission and isolating the public relations directives it contains is instructive.
In partnership with the community, the staff, volunteers, and foster parents of Lorain County Children Services are committed to the safety and well-being of abused, neglected, and dependent children and will provide the highest quality protection, permanency, and prevention services for children and families.
First, this mission statement directs that LCCS public relations programming supports and furthers a community partnership. Developing and fostering partnerships with community groups and organizations are, thus, not optional. They are required and are clearly the first order of business for public relations staff.
Two points here need to be highlighted. The agency does not intend to pursue its agenda or initiatives by itself. In fact, the mission statement implies that initiatives that do not include the participation of community partners should be avoided. This requires multiple partnerships along with attention to the development of new, potentially productive partnerships.
Additionally, successful partnerships are always two-way streets. This means that public relations activities must support and further the interests of the agency’s partners. An important implication of this reciprocity is that the agency, and particularly its public relations staff, will frequently be involved in activities that are not directly related to child protection. They are, rather, in support of the priorities of the agency’s partners.
Next, the mission statement directs that staff, volunteers, and foster parents are key participants in supporting and furthering the agency’s mission. Involving foster parents, for example, in the public relations program is not optional. They are to be fully incorporated into the program as partners.
Further, the mission statement directs that public relations programming supports and furthers both the safety and well being of abused, neglected, and dependent children. It is not enough to focus on the children’s being safe. Their well being must receive equal consideration. For example, this means that efforts to improve community services, increase low income housing, decrease neighborhood violence, and assure appropriate recreational opportunities for the children are not optional. They directly affect child well-being and are clearly part of the public relations directive.
Finally, agency public relations must support continuously increasing the quality of services for children and families in the community. Concurrently, those services must be available to and accessible by the children and families served by the agency. Just as importantly, those services must support and further child protection, permanence, and prevention of abuse and neglect of children.
As you can see, what at first may seem to be a simple mission statement is actually the primary action statement for the agency and for its public relations program. The agency cannot attain its mission’s outcomes without effectively and successfully fostering multiple and varied relationships within the community. Public relations are not optional. They are an essential ingredient for success. The agency will succeed or fail based on, among other things, the strength of its public relations program.
Your public relations program success is, in turn, strongly dependent on the support of internal and external individuals and groups. Their support, in turn, rests on the strength of their support for your agency’s mission. Unless they support the mission, they are unlikely to support the outcomes directed by it. Without that support, the success of any specific initiative is in jeopardy. Recognizing this public relations reality, carefully consider these questions.
· How fully do your staff, volunteers, and foster families understand and support your agency’s mission?
· What regular activities are in place to educate them about your agency’s mission and to increase their support for the mission?
· What measures have been taken to assure community support for your agency’s mission? For example, community participation in the development of the mission statement would be one effective way of assuring community support.
The level of internal and external support for your agency’s mission rests on the extent to which there is support for the values that underpin that mission. Following a brief introductory statement, here are LCCS’ guiding values. You will see that they are divided into three groups: children, families, and community.
The LCCS Board has a simple philosophy that directs the work of its staff and volunteers. They are expected to do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time, one child at a time. Combining this central expectation with our guiding values brings focus to our work and to the community’s expectations for us.
· Have an opportunity to be children and to grow up in a permanent family that is safe, supportive, and committed to their welfare and well-being.
· Have their basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, and spiritual nurturing met.
· Be loved, valued, and respected.
· Have a strong sense of self-worth and personal esteem.
· Have the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.
· Be responsible and contributing members of the community.
· Have respect for the community’s standards and laws.
· Responsibly and pro-actively care for their children.
· Convey strong values, a clear sense of responsibility, and realistic expectations to their children.
· Respect and be respected for their cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity.
· View themselves and be viewed as the basic foundation of the community.
· Be violence-free, provide positive role models for their children, and have a strong commitment to all their members.
· Have equal access to the full range of community resources and services.
· Have the community’s respect and support.
· Be respectful and supportive of the community.
· Should value its children and families as its most important resource.
· Invest its spiritual, economic, health care, human, and educational resources in all its families and children.
· Identify and confront injustice.
· Recognize and build on the strengths of all its members.
· Provide opportunities for all its members to participate in and contribute to its success.
· Respect, value, and support the cultural diversity of all its members.
· Pro-actively and collaboratively advocate for and respond to the needs of all its members.
· Eliminate the barriers that prevent children and families from reaching their full potentials.