“Keeping Families Together,” Ensign, Oct. 1995, 69
Thomas Bollard’s efforts to safeguard children go far beyond his official role as a clinical social worker at the state of New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department. Whether he’s appearing on television to combat child abuse, participating in an interfaith panel discussion on rehabilitating offenders, writing parenting books and columns, or presenting a Church fireside, Brother Bollard is constantly working for the comfort and happiness of children who can’t speak up for themselves.
The New Mexico state legislature recently honored Brother Bollard with a certificate of appreciation for his service on the Children’s Code Task Force, which studied and recommended updates of state laws governing the care and treatment of children.
“The plight of abused children is heart wrenching,” says Brother Bollard. “We have found that removing children from their homes doesn’t help, except in extreme cases. Long-term placement out of the home leads to the disintegration of the parent-child relationship and discourages reunification.”
By working with parents in their own home, Brother Bollard explains, “social workers are able to understand the family’s stress a lot more. We hear the baby crying and the dishes breaking. We see the three-year-old spilling red punch on the carpet. We are better able to demonstrate caring.”
Brother Bollard believes the home-based approach pays big dividends. “It strengthens families,” he says. “It keeps them together instead of tearing them apart. That’s my goal!”