By: Bonnie Sharpe On: February 11, 2021 In: News Item Comments: 1

Meet one of our Foster Care Social Workers, Tess! He has been with Extraordinary Families for more than two years and is a vital to supporting our families and children in foster care.

What do you do at Extraordinary Families?

My job ensures children placed through DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) are matched with appropriate resource (foster) families and are receiving the most appropriate care. This includes supporting their mental, emotional, and physiological health and ensuring other needs are being met. I also make sure our children’s relationship with their birth families is maintained and advanced, and if reunification with birth families isn’t possible, I ensure their journey to permanency is seamless.

My work is very important to me because I get to see joy in the life of the children we serve and see them develop and grow. It’s a very rewarding and exciting journey; seeing the joy of the child, their family, their growth, and the gains they make.

You mentioned “permanency” – What is “permanency”?

Permanency means ensuring a child has a forever home, a forever family, if there are no means to reunify a child with their birth family members. Permanency is important in a child’s life because all children are entitled to a family that they can identify and grow up with and share the love and affection every child should receive.

What makes working at Extraordinary Families unique?
From my experience so far, I have seen that EF puts a lot of emphasis on ensuring the needs of children in care are met and ensuring that the resource families recruited and are caring for these children are supported and heard. It is very rare to see that, and from what I’ve seen from Extraordinary Families, it is daily practice. I am proud to say that from my many years of experience, Extraordinary Families is where it’s at. I am really happy to be here.
Can you share a memorable story from your work that keeps you motivated every day?
There was a couple that were driven and motivated to become resource parents to a child in foster care. After a child was placed in their home, they were initially hesitant and afraid to get to know the birth parents of the child. What I liked about this situation was that I witnessed them evolve over time; I noticed their growing sensitivity towards challenges that the birth parents were going through, outside of their own needs. Over time, I saw them grow and understand the dynamics of the cycles of abuse and neglect. The birth mother was a prior foster child herself and had three children currently in the foster system. The way the resource parents were caring and sensitive towards the birth mother and her needs showed me how as humans, once we’re exposed to certain situations or people, we have the capacity to change. At the end of the day, seeing how close the resource family got to the birth family displayed how committed the couple was to the goal of ensuring the best care for the child. The couple’s ability to overcome their personal perceptions and put the child first truly opened my eyes to the capacity for change our families have. They are such a bonded and blended family unit and that story brings a smile to my face every time.

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    September 11, 2022

    I never thought that extraordinary families would bring me and our daughters new parents this close but they want what is best for my daughter and I do to and couldn’t ask for any other parents for my babygirl thanks to Tessa and extraordinary families for never making me feel less then and giving my baby a better life and a blended family y’all are the what sets the example of actually keeping family’s together


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