Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coffee break with Becky

Today it's time to meet another support and licensing specialist - Becky from our Western side of the state! Becky graciously shared a few insights about what she loves about working in the child welfare field, as well as some things you might consider if you're interested in making an impact as a resource family.

Photo via Flickr - Phil Monger
Hi Becky! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role with Iowa families?

I've worked in many areas in the social service field, including waiver homes, after school programs, in-home services, a domestic violence shelter, and my favorite - working with children in foster care and foster parents. I am a foster and adoptive home licensing and support specialist, covering families in about nine counties in Western Iowa.

I aid families in renewing their license, help them find training opportunities, support them through difficult situation with a placement or personal matter and am their sounding board for questions and concerns.

What do you enjoy about this role?

I enjoy seeing children in foster homes succeed in all aspects of their life. I love to see the difference that foster homes give children through consistency and making children feel a part of their immediate family, as well as the connections foster families have with biological families and their willingness to maintain that connection and bond.

The joy on a foster parent's face when they have assisted in successfully reuniting children with their biological families is priceless. I also enjoy hearing foster parents talk about the progress children in their home have made and the positive feeling this gives the foster families who work so hard.

As a support specialist, what's one essential tip or resource you often recommend to families?

One essential tip is to use the resources surrounding you, whether this includes therapy services, in-home services, support groups, other foster families or respite care. I like to point out to foster families that everyone deserves a break and using respite gives themselves as well as the children they care for a break.

Name three qualities that help a foster family be successful.

Patience, consistency and being willing to try new techniques and skills in parenting.

Can you share a favorite story from your years in the field?

I've seen many families grow through adoption, long term foster care or just by being a support to biological families even after reunification. Many parents meet lifelong friends and maintain relationships with past placements throughout their adult life.  

Any words of advice for those considering becoming foster parents?

Foster parenting is very rewarding. There are a lot of support systems available, and it's essential you use all those resources. It's important to understand your own family dynamics and make decisions that your entire family can handle and fit your strengths.

Thanks Becky! Iowa is lucky to have a strong support network for foster and adoptive families. What kind of support is most helpful in your life, whether as a foster/adoptive parent or just in dealing with everyday ups and downs?


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