Working in FCNI’s administrative services, I don’t get to experience much direct interaction with our kids or families, at least not as much as I’d like. So I depend on our direct service staff to share their stories and experiences with me--their ups, downs, good days and even their hard days, and the countless examples they get to see of our staff’s and families’ resiliency and unwavering hope.
Category: Voice of an FCNI Staff
I have wanted to work with trauma-impacted children and foster youth since I was very young. I went off to get my degree in psychology and moved back to the Central Coast eager to enact change in children’s lives, but I never imagined how much this field would change me. In the two years I’ve worked at FCNI, my job as a Rehabilitation Specialist (RS) has consisted of working with kids and families in their daily environment to help them build skills they need to cope and thrive.
The increasing focus on transition age youth (TAY), ages 16–24, is important and necessary. TAY are navigating the developmental years of growing out of childhood and into adulthood. Brain development in TAY is incomplete, leading to limitations in decision making, impulsivity, risk taking, and emotion regulation. These years are important for individuation and development of an autonomous self. These are individuals on whom we should all be focused to be able to provide support, care, and direction as they navigate early adulthood.
In my role as a Social Worker, I work as part of a team to find the best solutions and situations for the kids and families we serve. Unfortunately, during this process, we often encounter heartbreak and disappointment. But when best laid plans go awry, we turn to the backup plans, and sometimes, a Plan B ends up being the best plan of all.
I’m Nat, a Rehabilitation Specialist working with youth at Family Care Network. I’ve been a mentor for about six months now, and I’d like to share about my experience because I think that mentoring foster youth makes a big difference in their lives and in our community. I met my mentee working as a Rehabilitation Specialist in our Emergency Shelter Care Program. She was in a shelter foster home for about six months, and during those months I picked her up from school almost every day, and spent the rest of the day with her.
The programs and support we provide to the youth and families in our care are designed to be strength-based, trauma-informed, and, most of all, empowering. We believe that the relationship between caregivers--whether they be biological parents/family members, foster parents, respite providers, teen parents or adoptive/guardians--and the children in their care is vital to the overall success of every child and family. Therefore, empowering and encouraging healthy relationships within families is one of our main objectives.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and on our blog we’ve shared different perspectives on this tremendously impacting issue, detailing how detrimental it is to our families, communities and culture as a whole. Every instance of domestic violence has multiple victims; multiple lives irrevocably changed. Below is such a life. Tanya Winje, an FCNI Program Supervisor, bravely shares her personal story of fear, hopelessness, survival and healing.
Previously on our blog, we introduced you to Destiny and shared her personal journey from foster youth to FCNI Youth Partner. We’ve been so thankful for Destiny and her inspirational spirit--she truly transformed her life and circumstances into teaching opportunities to support our Transitional-Age youth in amazing ways. We’re now sharing the next leg of Destiny’s journey, as she continues to follow her dreams and inspire us all.
My name is Marycruz Jimenez, and I am currently a Social Worker in FCNI’s Wraparound program. Prior to becoming a Social Worker, I was an FCNI Rehabilitation Specialist for three years. I came into that position soon after I graduated from Cal Poly in 2015 with a degree in Sociology, with a concentration on Social Work. I became really familiar with the Social Work field in my undergraduate years, always knowing that this was where I wanted to focus my learning and experience.
We all know that the Back-to-School anxiety is a real thing, so some of our Rehabilitation Specialist staff who work one-on-one with our youth and families, as well as in the classroom with kids, put together some pointers on how to make this transition as smooth as possible!
Here are some of Makayla’s suggestions:
► Visit the school BEFORE the first day!