SXU Alumna Reappointed to Illinois Children and Family Services Advisory Council
Saint Xavier University (SXU) alumna Margaret Berglind '74 has been reappointed to the Illinois Children and Family Services Advisory Council by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Berglind has served in a wide range of leadership positions and is an accomplished child welfare expert, acting as a member of the Child Welfare League of America, Alliance for Children and Families, Illinois DCFS Child Welfare Advisory Committee, Illinois Children and Family Services Council and Illinois Juvenile Justice Council. She is the former president and CEO for the Child Care Association of Illinois, executive vice president of Central Baptist Family Services and director of Youth Welfare Services for Chicago Youth Centers.
Some of Berglind's responsibilities on the council include advising the Department of Children and Family Services on its policy, procedures and how to reduce the number of children who are abused and neglected in the state. The state system includes nearly 17,000 wards of the court, and Berglind studies and advises on how broad policies affect them and how to improve their lives.
Berglind believes that the sound liberal arts education she received at SXU prepared her for the role. "At SXU, I was able to look at a broad array of subjects that are important when you're working in a human services field. The range of courses I took helped me to get involved enough to define my personal areas of interest and what my expertise would eventually be," said Berglind.
One of Berglind's favorite SXU memories includes her commencement ceremony, as her father was finishing his master's in education at SXU at the same time. Looking back on her days at SXU, Berglind encourages current students who are interested in politics and policy to understand the difference. "In order to promote sound policy in state government, you have to be an advocate. You have to work within a political framework to get stuff done. You have to understand legislation, how bills are passed and how various forces work on both sides," said Berglind. She urges students to volunteer in human services, do behind-the-scenes work and concentrate on understanding how to change things that don't appear to be working for people who need help. "It's important to get involved in thinking about and looking at what you're trying to change and what's good for the people. You don't have to be a political expert to get involved. Think about how we can marshal forces to work together to get good policies in place to help serve vulnerable people."
Berglind seeks to remind the SXU community that they must come together to support the child welfare system. "There's an article written nearly every day that criticizes some flaw in the system. People want to say the system is broken, but it's not. It has problems, as many systems do, but they are resolvable over time," said Berglind, who aims to use her voice as an advocate to bring resources to help the state improve the policies they have in place for at-risk children and families.
Berglind is semi-retired but will continue to serve on committees and do consulting in child welfare and child services, hoping to use her expertise to assist in projects and inspire others to support the child welfare system. "When you get involved, you start to understand the complexity of working with traumatized people. You can support that however you see fit, like by becoming a foster parent, volunteering at a child welfare services agency or meeting with a local official to tell them what you think should be improved. You can serve as an advocate and make a difference."