"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." – Nelson Mandela
The work of the Family Care Network requires a lot of heart. As an agency which provides an array of human health services—from Emergency Shelter care for kids needing immediate safety to helping teens develop critical life skills to putting homeless families in affordable housing and supporting their efforts to become self-sufficient against numerous obstacles—FCNI utilizes all of the compassion, resolve and resources that our staff and community invest in our mission to meet high-needs on a daily basis. The individuals who dedicate themselves to our efforts do so for a multitude of reasons, but the most prevalent reason seems to be having a heart to serve. We know that many of us couldn’t meet the challenges that face us and the people we serve if our hearts weren’t in it; if we didn’t believe whole-heartedly in what we do and why we do it.
Working under a mission dedicated to improving lives, healing relationships and empowering individuals, requires a staff of people who not only have the required education and experience, but also possess a deep dedication to helping lives transform. Every member of the Family Care Network team has a story; a unique journey which lead them to serve a vital role in our cause. Below, we share one of these stories. Hannah, a Social Worker serving our children and families in Santa Barbara County, shares how a very personal experience greatly influenced the work she’s chosen to do.
I started as a Resource Family Social Worker with Family Care Network in July, 2015. My decision to work for a foster family agency can be traced back to my childhood when my parents began fostering. When I was six years old, my parents fostered-to-adopt a sibling set of two. In the process of the adoption, my parents then became pregnant with their third child, growing our family of four to seven in just one year! And then, 17 years later, my parents received a call from the County informing them that the three younger siblings of the children they had previously adopted were in need of a permanent home. After prayerful consideration, my parents decided to become re-licensed as foster parents and, in 2012, they finalized the adoption of the three children.
My parents’ decision to foster and adopt has been a life experience that has brought profound beauty and pain into my life. Walking through the experience of fostering and adoption so personally, left me with a heart to continue to positively impact the lives of children who have experienced trauma, and inspired me at a fairly young age, to set a career path that would one day have me working in the Child Welfare field.
After high school, I obtained my Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University. While earning my Master’s degree, I had the privilege of interning with Orange County’s Children and Family Services, specifically with the Foster and Adoptive Family Recruitment and Retention Team. Our mission was to partner with the faith-based community to not only recruit families for kids but to establish programs to better care for them. My time on The Team inspired me to want to provide excellent care and support to the Resource Parents who daily pour out their lives to children placed in their care.
Fostering parenting is a position that can be challenging, emotionally draining, yet also extremely rewarding. My goal at the Family Care Network is to first of all, find loving and healing homes for children in the child welfare system. Secondly, I hope to provide excellent care and support to Resource Parents as they journey through the process of becoming certified to foster and/or adopt. By providing excellent service to our Resource Parents, I believe we will be equipping them to better serve the children and youth in their care.