Board Member Paula Wales Advocates for Kids

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June 13, 2013

As an adoptive mother, Ms. Wales is an outspoken advocate for the rights of children and brings a unique perspective to the MAXIMUS Foundation Board of Directors.

The MAXIMUS Foundation is the tangible expression of the commitment of the MAXIMUS employees and our Company to reach into our communities and assist those organizations that are changing lives. As a board member, it is an awesome responsibility to honor MAXIMUS and my colleagues by choosing among the hundreds of worthy organizations that apply for funding. These organizations are successful at addressing the challenges of homelessness, the needs of children in the midst of violence or family disruption, unemployment, and access to quality health care.

As MAXIMUS grows, the Foundation is committed to supporting the communities where we work and do that by encouraging and increasing philanthropy among our employees and corporate board members. I am especially excited about the Ambassador program where local Ambassadors represent the Foundation in their communities and to the employees. Increasing the Foundation’s capacity for giving comes directly from increasing awareness of the foundation’s activities and, most importantly, increasing donations!

My motivation for becoming a board member resides in my personal commitment to working with non-profit organizations that address the exceptional needs of abused and neglected children and, specifically, those in foster care.

In 2005 my husband and I decided to become foster parents and, eventually, adopted a little girl who was just four and a half. In her short life, she had been in seven households during a nearly three-year process of parental termination and placement. The abuse she had suffered, along with the fear and uncertainty surrounding her future, damaged her both physically and emotionally. We were witnesses to the trauma children face from abuse, neglect and multiple failed placements but also to the difficulty in accessing meaningful help for families.

There is a common perception that once a child is adopted into a safe and loving family, all issues are resolved. In reality, the hard work is just beginning. Working families are challenged with finding appropriate day care, after school, and summer options for children who are struggling with the effects of trauma. The children struggle with anger, aggression, poor school performance, and frequently fail to develop appropriate relationships with other children and adults. Siblings struggle with the disruption, and the strange and unfamiliar behavior of the adopted child.

Community organizations can provide a critical system of support to people, like my husband and me, who never thought they would need one. So I am happy that the MAXIMUS Foundation shares my interest in advancing the work of the best, and most effective, organizations in the communities where we work and live.

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