I am a social worker with the State in Family Voluntary Services. I always wanted to make a difference and make things better. And I thought the way to do that was to be a police officer. What I discovered is that it is the most unlovable children who need the most love.

I was working in a group home with kids who had nowhere else to go, nobody wanted them. Not the police, not juvenile detention, not foster care – nobody. And they were desperate for someone to love them. What I discovered is that the worst behavior comes from the worst stress and trauma. And I needed to help them with that.

That experience working at the group home turned me into a Family Therapist. I told those kids that we would figure this out together, that we could do this together. Today, I tell the same thing to every family I work with.

In my role at CPS, I start out with each family by asking how we can make this better, and then we come up with a plan. My role is to bring in all of the community resources and connect with everyone involved to see what we can do to make this work for a family. I help create the dialogue for each family that will continue even after my work ends.

I get energized by working with families! Seeing families smile and say thank you is what keeps me going. And I want things to be better. The way to do that it to be thorough and communicative. Even if I’ve only had 20 min. with a child, I still do what I can to help them feel comfortable in a new situation. We’re supposed to know our children and treat them as our own.

In CPS, I work with the best and brightest people that I’ve ever worked with in my life. Everyone here goes 110% for children every day. I do work after hours. And it’s tough. Because right now we’re in a crisis and we don’t have enough beds for these children.

After 20 years of figuring this out together, I still want things to be better.

In celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month in May, we are highlighting the extensive network of support that surrounds the child in foster care. From foster families to extended family members, to teachers and foster care youth advocates. We appreciate the unique strengths and skills that each role brings to ensure that children in foster care have the love and support they need to thrive. We salute you!