Maria Reina, Trainer & Intake Coordinator, shares a sneak peek into the 24-hour Pre-Service training for foster parents.
At Encourage, our main goal is to connect and support prospective foster families and provide them with the information and resources they need. There is a great need for homes for foster children and healing would not be possible if it wasn't for the families who have the heart to love and care for them.
On Day 1 of the Pre-Service classes our staff welcomed the new foster families with open arms! Kevin Hewitt, CEO, Jessica Berry, Encourage Director, Heather Huebner, Encourage Director of Operations & Recruitment and Maria Reina, Trainer & Intake Coordinator, had the opportunity to welcome the families and get to know them. Families also had the chance to ask questions and provide the Encourage team with feedback. This will help our team to continue to learn and provide them with the resources they might need.
During the Pre-Service we shared nice homemade meals while the families learned skills to advocate for the children in their care and partnering with primary families and agencies to make informed decisions about placement.
On Day 2, we trained our future foster families in CPR skills; one of the most important steps to keep foster children safe. Our families had the chance to practice these skills on mannequins and used an AED device.
On Day 3, we encouraged the families to stay in constant contact with Encourage with any questions so we can help them through any situation they may encounter. Diversity, culture, and humility were also topics the families learned to take into consideration when taking placement.
Encourage Assessors (Jodi Figueroa, Alexis Price, and Candice Kocsis) were able to join us and conducted their first interview with our families to start the licensing process and get them prepared for the next steps.
On Day 4, the last day of Pre-Service, we had Sheila Wagler-Mills, Director of Encompass Christian Counseling, as a special guest. Sheila did a fantastic job teaching our families TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) techniques that will help families to connect with their children, offer choices, and make them feel loved, seen, and heard.
A lot of emotions, stories, and great devices were shared between trainers and families. I particularly felt blessed to welcome in 8 new foster families! I am very grateful for their willingness to help children from hard places to heal.
We look forward to the next Pre-Service and the wonderful families we will welcome in with open arms!
About the Author
Trainer & Intake Coordinator
I have worked for CCHO for almost 5 years. I started as a Treatment Specialist at CCHO's residential center helping children to heal from their past and look to their future through Jesus. Then, as a Foster Care Coordinator at Encourage, I had the privilege of encouraging our foster families. I worked with families to advocate for the children in their home to ensure they received the services and support they needed.
Currently, my goal as the Trainer and Intake Coordinator is to provide our foster families with the information they need prior to placement. I share my knowledge and experience with families as we get to know each other. I continue to learn from my foster families as well as I walk alongside them to ensure they are receiving the training and tools necessary for them to succeed.