Foster Kids on Probation, with GaKnew Roxwel
In our effort to better understand the plight of California’s foster care system, and those that serve our children in need, I sat down with GaKnew Roxwel, a senior social work investigator for The Children’s Law Center of California. Prior to his sixteen years at the Center, he volunteered with various community organizations, and even worked closely with Leila Steinberg, an artist mentor to Tupac Shakur, in developing an after school arts program.
The combination of GaKnew’s chosen career, mixed with his love of music and education, birthed his socially therapeutic book, Under the Influence: When Hip Hop meets Psychology.
During our chat, we talked about his upbringing in South Central Los Angeles, the tragedy of losing family and friends to senseless violence, his reasons for choosing social work as a career, his time teaching in Los Angeles Unified School District, and why he believes that intervention in the lives of troubled youth needs to begin early. To quote him directly “If you wait until they’re teenagers [to show them love and care], you’re not really going to get the buy-in, because they’re already focused on the cool… and cool wins. But if you get the kids before the cool, you actually get to the core of who they are.” Words of a poet, indeed.
GaKnew taught me a ton during our hour together, and I hope you enjoy his wisdom and insight as much as I did.