David & Margaret
Youth and Family Services
1350 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750
Phone: (909) 596-5921
Fax: (909) 596-7583

Blog

May 22, 2018

 
Would You Be a Foster Parent?

By Deena Robertson, Project Manager, Foster Family and Adoption Agency

They say it takes a village to raise a child. We are all, as a society, part of that village. With more than 30,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles County alone, we need to ask ourselves who will raise them when their own families, for whatever reason, cannot.

Could you help raise one, or a few, of these children?

If you are willing, able, and have the resources to open your home, could qualify to become a foster parent (also called a resource parent). David & Margaret Youth and Family Services has a foster care and adoption agency, and we welcome all singles and couples, and we are an open and affirming agency. There a few requirements to keep in mind:

  • You be at least 21 years of age;
  • Your income should be adequate to handle your current living status without relying on the financial assistance that will be given to you to care for the children;
  • You must pass a criminal background check;
  • With our guidance, your home must meet state safety regulations;
  • You are willing to attend pre-approval as well as post-approval trainings to help you understand and be equipped to work with the various issues that may arise when children are removed from their homes;
  • Most importantly, you must be willing and able to be part of a professional team whose goal it is to help heal the child and guide him/her towards permanency, whether it means reuniting with parents or family or by perhaps considering making your home his/her forever home.

Caring for children who have been abandoned or neglected isn’t always easy, as they have been hurt by adults who were supposed to care for them. However, we will help you from your very first inquiry through the entire approval process, which usually takes around three months. We will also be with you when you welcome your first foster child into your home. Our social workers are just a phone call away, every day and night of the year.

If you have room in your heart to care for at least one of these 30,000 children who need a loving family, give us a call. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you can be instrumental in helping better the life of a child, whether it be for 24 hours or for the rest of their life. Every day a child is in a loving, nurturing, safe home means one less day of being fearful about what’s going to happen to them now.

To find out more about being a resource family, please contact David & Margaret Foster and Adoption Agency at 800-4-FOSTER or Foster@DavidandMargaret.org.

 

May 16, 2018

 
Superheroes Descend Upon David & Margaret!
 
In this day and age, who doesn't want to be a superhero, or have one as a best friend? David & Margaret Youth and Family Services staff got to live out their super fantasies on Wednesday, May 16, at the Annual Employee Picnic, held on the agency's grounds. Then they returned to their normal disguises as mild-mannered social workers, therapists, and others who help the children and families the agency serves. Up, up, and away!
 

 

 
May 14, 2018

Why I'm a Mental Health Professional 
 
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, David & Margaret Youth and Family Services is spotlighting a few of our hard-working front-line mental health professionals. First up: meet Jackie Bustos, case manager.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LqVk0CknVKV9_nzT1fSqC3lhi4hQ1Fmo/view?usp=sharing
 

 
May 9, 2018

Lunching with coworkers (from left): Chief Program Officer Michael Miller, Finance Director Phoebe Miyamoto,
Development Associate Noemy Maciel, Publicity Coordinator Julie Griffith, Administrative Assistant
Florida Barron, and Development Director Maggie Bohlman. 
 

Lunch with Coworkers - for a Cause!

A big thank-you to Dickey's Barbecue Pit, 1046 W. Gladstone Ave., San Dimas, for having our bi-monthly "Lunch With Coworkers"! A portion of the proceeds from lunch comes back to our hard-working and creative Employee Activities Committee, which organizes fun stuff like our Annual Holiday Party in December, and our Annual Employees Picnic next week. Today's lunch also gave a transitional age youth in our Youth Workforce Training Program a chance to practice customer service skills that can be applied to a future job.
 
Having "Lunch With Coworkers" at your restaurant is a great way to publicize it to our 300-plus employees! For information, contact Development Associate Noemy Maciel at NavaN@DavidandMargaret.org
May 3, 2018

Addiction and Gender

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and mental illness take many forms; for example, depression, bipolar disease, or addiction. Addiction has been garnering a lot of attention recently, and no wonder: A 2017 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that one in 10 Americans – about 24 million people – have an addiction issue.

Men and women have different challenges surrounding addiction – men as providers and fathers, and women as caregivers and mothers. Melissa Okimura, Recovery/Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Treatment Coordinator at David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, offers some insight into the special issues facing girls and women in the grip of addiction and trying to gain, and maintain, sobriety.

“It’s really difficult for women who get into substance abuse treatment, whether they are youths or young adults,” she says. “Once treatment is done they kind of fizzle out, and risk of them relapsing is higher because they don’t continue to stay supported or stay connected in that foundation. This means attending a meeting or a spiritual group, or just trying to stay connected outside their family dynamics.”

Once women have children, Okimura notes, they tend to put their own needs last, to the detriment of their sobriety. “Then a situation happens and they no longer have that proper coping mechanism, so they regress into their addiction,” she says.

“It’s very difficult for women because they feel they have all these other things they need to take care of before themselves, and they don’t see their needs as important. They will go right back to their addiction, right back into criminal activity, going in and out of the jail system and treatment.  It often takes more times for them to recognize that and want to change.”

There is really no typical period of time between when people first try a substance and when they seek treatment, and the next step, which is maintaining sobriety. “Every case is different,” Okimura says. “Something major has to happen in their life for them to change their whole perspective. It doesn’t matter how much prevention we give them, how many supportive services we offer. If they don’t want to change when they finally leave here, they are not going to change, until something happens.

“In recovery meetings they talk about jails, institutions, and death, because it might take a life-or-death experience to take them out of the cycle,” she adds. “But that’s the result of addiction and, in a way, playing this game of going back and forth. Our role as counselors is to help them find alternative coping skills and make better choices for themselves, so they can successfully maintain sobriety.”

There are many resources for mental health care in the East San Gabriel Valley, including National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.namiinlandvalley.org) and Tri-City Mental Health (www.tricitymhs.org). For information on mental health services at David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, contact Jackie Gonzales at (909) 596-5921, ext. 3510, or GonzalesJ@DavidandMargaret.org.

 

April 23, 2018
 
CicLAvia!
 
David & Margaret Youth and Family Services was well represented at the Inland Empire CicLAvia event on Sunday, April 22. Board members and staff, along with volunteers, turned out to cheer on the crowd, help with traffic control at our appointed intersection of Bonita and Wheeler Avenues, and get the word out about our agency! We had a great time - did you?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
April 20, 2018

 

Janisse Wilkins and her rescue dog, Pete

 

Mentors Provide a Loving Presence for Girls in Foster Care at

David & Margaret Youth and Family Services

 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization, and David & Margaret Youth and Family Services in La Verne is no exception. Last year, 110 volunteers and mentors donated 3,400 hours of their energy, time and expertise to the agency, which is best known for its residential foster care program for adolescent girls.

 

Many of these girls have not had a stable, caring adult presence in their lives, and that is where mentors come in. David & Margaret’s Mentoring Program is designed to match qualified, trained and vetted mentors with youth in need, who are at risk and may have experienced neglect, abuse or homelessness.  April is National Volunteers Month, which recognizes and celebrates the contributions of volunteers of all stripes.

 

“Everything these young adults have to do in order to accomplish just daily progress is so different and more difficult from that which children in ‘normal’ homes with a family to help them are able to accomplish,” says mentor Janisse Wilkins. “Moving from one foster home to another can create huge obstacles in these children’s education, and each day that is lost, is a day they will not get back.

 

“Once they begin the downward spiral of losing time in education, emotional development, and the ability to trust or bond with adults and others, the spiral just doesn’t stop. If we can reach out and offer our hand to help them up I believe we can make a difference in a cycle that without our help, is leading them to nowhere, without the necessary skills required to help them survive and lead a positive, productive life.”

 

Wilkins, who has no children of her own, relies on advice from friends and family when dealing with her teenage mentee. “I call my mother and sister and ask them, how do I respond in this instance?” she says with a chuckle. “How do I deal with this? Am I being too hard on her, or too lenient? How do I handle this without alienating her?”

 

Although the time requirement for the mentors in the program is eight hours per month, Wilkins often carves out as much as five times that much from her life, which includes a demanding job that involves considerable local travel.

 

“There is a great need for mentors who will give time to the children who are being raised in group foster care homes,” she says. “This need is so great, yet so unpublicized, and I was astonished to find there was a home in my community where my involvement might truly make a difference in someone’s life. It takes a village to raise these kids, and we need more villagers.”

 

Today, David & Margaret serves more than 1,700 clients annually through a comprehensive range of 18 programs. In 2015, the Cedar Springs Apartment complex opened on the agency’s south campus to provide increased housing and supportive services for youth transitioning out of foster care. In 2017, the Youth Workforce Training Center opened, featuring a store (open Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) and café (open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-3 p.m.) that are open to the public, to give transitional age youth valuable work guidance and experience.

 

For information on how to you can help support David & Margaret’s mission, contact Development Director Maggie Bohlman at (909) 596-5921, ext. 3246, or BohlmanM@DavidandMargaret.org.

 

 

April 12, 2018
 

A Different Kind of Street Smarts

089 

 

Sandra Lopez (left) and May Coron, students at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles 

 

Today’s Street Law Clinic at Joan Macy School is populated by some of its juniors and seniors. Shuffling through papers are May Doron and Sandra Lopez from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, who look young enough to be in the class themselves, rather than the second-year law students who are teaching the class as part of their own coursework. They are wearing casual clothes, not courtroom worthy power suits.

Today’s session starts with a multiple-choice survey designed to help students identify their interests with an eye toward future employment. The teens start to giggle over the either/or options.

“Circle the ones you like best,” instructs Lopez. “What if you don’t like any?” comes the inevitable reply. “Then circle the ones you dislike least,” she says with a laugh. She and Doron take it in stride; they’ve been teaching the Street Law Clinic for a few weeks now and have developed a rapport with the students.

The Street Law Clinic is just one of the classes offered by Joan Macy School. A diploma granting, certified non-public school recognized by the California Department of Education, Joan Macy School offers a unique special education program for students grades 1-12 who require more intensive support in accordance with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The Street Law Clinic has been offered since 2008 to help students understand how the law will affect them as adults.

“The mission of our program is to help youth who are transitioning to adulthood and provide them with legal information and resources to ensure their success,” says Laura Dym Cohen, clinical professor of law and director, Street Law Clinic and Public Service Programs at Southwestern Law School. “The interactive lesson topics include criminal law, education, employment, housing, consumer, health, and healthy relationships.”

“One student had an issue with her adoptive family, says Lopez, “and as Street Law, our job is to also provide the girls with resources that can help each individually. So we found out that she may qualify for resources through the Department of Children and Family Services, even though she is 18. If this goes through, it would be a great help to her.”

Professor Cohen notes that many former Street Law participants have gone on to work in public service and education, and Lopez may follow in their footsteps. “I hope to one day work with the federal government, but I am interested in doing pro-bono work with low income families in the future,” she says.
April 6, 2018

 

Thank you, Spring Service Day Volunteers!

The volunteers who participated in David & Margaret's Annual Spring Service Day on Wednesday, April 4, join a century-long tradition of supporting youth and families. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers who served those in need while building connections in our community and hopefully making new friends along the way. 


We are tremendously grateful to the 75 volunteers who joined us and made our Annual Spring Service Day a huge success! In particular, we would like to acknowledge the following groups. Volunteering with coworkers, classmates and fellow church-goers makes it that much more fun.

  • ADP, San Dimas

  • Bastian Solutions, Pomona

  • Bay Alarm, Ontario

  • Cal Poly Pomona

  • Damien High School, La Verne

  • La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church

  • Sonrise Christian Preschool, San Dimas

  • Timberland, Ontario

  • University of La Verne

Our Summer Service Day will be held in early August. Keep an eye on our social media for details:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidMargaretYouthFamilyServices/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidnmargaret

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidmargaretyouth/

 


March 30, 2018
 

Spotlight on Social Workers

 
It's National Social Workers Month, so we're taking the opportunity to spotlight some of the amazing social workers and therapists we have at David & Margaret! Meet Rosio Mancera, clinical therapist
 

"It has really opened up my eyes working with school age individuals. Each one is very much a distinct person, with their own different feelings. They are very humble and appreciative of everything you do for them, which is very gratifying and rewarding. It is really the reason I fell in love with this program. I started by volunteering as a caretaker of the children while parents went through different programs. And after I went back to school, I changed from studying to be a preschool teacher to social work. This is what I have always done, worked with children.

"The awesome thing about David & Margaret is all the different programs we offer. The campus is also very beautiful, and walking between different buildings can help to calm emotions."

March 29, 2018
Addiction: The Disease That Doesn’t Discriminate

 

Addiction is a disease that can plague anyone, of any age, race, gender, or circumstance. Youth who find themselves in the foster care system through no fault of their own often come from backgrounds that place them at especially high risk of exposure substance abuse, sexual exploitation, or both. At David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, we offer a variety of programs to our residential youth to address addiction issues:

 

Word on the Street is for girls at risk of, or who have experienced, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Ending the Game is a support group for youth who have experienced CSEC. ”The curriculum is based on seeing themselves as a survivor, because usually those that we work with don’t see themselves as a survivor or a youth,” says Melissa Okimura, Recovery/CSEC Coordinator. “They refer to themselves by a negative name that someone else labeled them with. We are trying to take those labels and identifications out of there because that’s not who they are.”

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid fellowship intended to help its members stay sober, and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

Overeaters Anonymous is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but focuses on eating disorders.  “If you take away drugs and alcohol, the youth with pick up another addiction and that is primarily food, hoarding, and eating,” Melissa says.

Melissa has been with David & Margaret since 2014. “I started out helping our youth through recovery supportive groups, and now I work with CSEC youth [who have experienced or are vulnerable to sexual exploitation]. I facilitate all our relapse prevention groups, recovery groups, run groups for girls who are CSEC identified, and do preventive groups. Our hope is for them to gain insight into what addiction looks like and the dangers behind it.”

Risk Factors

Melissa cites two big risk factors for foster youth: running away and social media. “They talk to complete strangers and think, ‘I don’t know who this person but they sound good and seem okay.’” Overexposure to technology is a huge risk factor, along with cultural and personal exposure to drugs and alcohol. “Sometimes their own friends can get them into a really bad situation,” she says.  Another risk factor is running away from their foster care placement, or not coming back to treatment because they feel they are not ready. “Sexual exploitation compares to substance abuse; a lot of the youth say that is their addiction” Melissa adds.  “It’s kind of like being in a domestic violence situation.”

The Youth at David & Margaret

The girls Melissa works with are between the ages of 12 and 18. “A lot of the youth I talk to started using substances because they grew up around it; it was basically their social norm,” she says. “It started out experimental until it developed into addiction, and now they continue to use because that’s how they cope.”

These youth are often in denial, she says. “It really takes about 90 days to build some type of rapport with them and really start doing the work. The foundation is just a small piece of what the real test is: when they go back into the community or back home with their family. If they were traumatized or have been exposed to commercial sex trafficking, that makes it even more challenging for them.”

The residents also have the opportunity to go to empowerment events through Los Angeles County. “Every year, the Probation Department puts on a young women’s conference called Brave,” Melissa says. “This year, there were about 1,500 youth in the county, and about 15 youth from our agency, who attended.”

Measuring Success

When youth initially come to David & Margaret, Melissa doesn’t create goals for them. “They come up with their long-term goal, and usually that is to maintain sobriety, go home, and finish high school,” she says. “Their short-term goals come with the collaboration of myself and the case manager, and the standard for what they want to do for their program.”

The first goal is always ‘no self-medicating,’ because it is the reason they are in recovery services, and it is measurable through random routine testing. “I like to take little successes and not just big success, because if they are sober for 24 hours, that is a huge success if they had been using every day, all day long,” Melissa adds. “We encourage our youth to measure their successes in small steps. Our hope is for them to get to those goals and that is why we have them create their own goals.”

For more information, contact Melissa Okimura at (909) 596-5921, ext. 3346, or OkimuraM@DavidandMargaret.org.

March 23, 2018

Spotlight: National Social Workers Month

 
In honor of National Social Workers Month, we're pleased to highlight another of our valuable social workers: David Hoxey, Foster Family Agency!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cPpDslyfGcj3JAT-oTRVL7Nc0LDL3NkS/view
 

March 23, 2018

Employees Turn Out for Giving Campaign
 
Employees are key to any capital campaign, and The Campaign for David & Margaret is no exception. Donors are more likely to favorably view a request for funding if they know that an organization's employees are supporting the campaign, too. It isn't always easy, but our staff pitches in.
This week, David & Margaret staff braved threatening weather to mob Dave & Maggie's Café, where a morning event was held to remind them of their part in the effort, and to provide a fun break from the workday. They nibbled on cookies and doughnuts (thank you Grizzby's Donuts and Biscuits in Claremont for the latter!), and sipped coffee and iced tea while lining up for a chance to win café items such as popcorn or candy bars. Confetti and notes with awards were placed in helium-filled balloons to pop, while candy-shaped Mylar balloons had numbers on the top that indicated winners. Of the 83 employees who attended, about 20 percent signed up for the giving campaign, and more are expected through today. Sign-ups will be entered into a special raffle next week for a dinner out or a coveted paid day off. Our sincere thanks to everyone who participated - we can't do it without you!
 
 
March 21, 2018

 

Five Questions: An Interview with Charles Rodriguez, Café Manager

Youth Workforce Training Program

Charles has been with David & Margaret since July 2017, and together with the youth transitioning out of foster care  (TAY)who are  in the Transitional Housing Programs, brought about the establishment of Dave & Maggie’s Café for workforce training in early December. As café manager, he provides on-the-job training in everything from fresh food preparation to cooking, and even equipment disassembly, cleaning, and assembly. The café is located as 1351 Palomares Ave., La Verne, on David & Margaret's south campus, and is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The menu was devised as a joint effort. As Charles says, “This place has been built not just by me, but by the actual youth.” Moving forward, he hopes to expand the workforce training to include more managerial tasks including training on what goes into ordering, recording and managing inventory.

What do you most enjoy about working here?

My initial thought was that I am here to make a difference, I am here to change lives. I think it’s going pretty well. It is definitely little things. I can even say I have a success story now.

Most memorable positive experience here?

Honestly, I think it was initially meeting the TAY participants. I think just the understanding that if you can be relatable or just real with them, it makes a difference. After initially just having one real conversation and staying open with a TAY who’s having difficulty understanding a task, I realized it was going to be okay. I think that was really good. That was one of the most positive things that realization that it was going to be fine.

If you could learn anything, what would it be and why?

Something musical, an instrument maybe. A lot of my friends are musically inclined. Maybe ukulele.

Who are your role models?

My godparents. There is something about them that when I imagine my life later, that’s what I imagine. Not that they are filthy rich or anything, but I just look at what they have between each other. They just seem to have it together.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up, and why?

Everyone says doctor or firefighter – I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was all about the ocean. Not even just a sailor, I had to be in the actual water. If I had to give you are real answer, I would say I wanted to be a mermaid, because I just wanted to be a fish, but marine biologist works too.


 
March 16, 2018

Spotlight: National Social Workers Month

In honor of National Social Workers Month, we're taking a moment to introduce some of our wonderful social workers and therapists. This week, meet Karla Villalta, licensed marriage and family therapist, Mental Health Services!

March 13, 2018
 

 

Former Resident Terri B: How David & Margaret Helped Me

Terri B was just seven years old when she and her younger sister were whisked away from their home and placed in the foster care system. The accusations of abuse against a parent were much later proven false, but for the time being, they were entrusted to foster families that she describes as abusive themselves. “We were afraid of speaking up. Eventually the court thought that a group home would be a better fit.”

The girls were placed at David & Margaret Youth and Family Services. “What a relief!” says Terri, now an adult. “We had no protection from our foster moms, but here, there are so many staff. They helped me break my protective shell and learn to communicate. We felt safe and secure here. I tried to take advantage of every opportunity that David & Margaret offered.

 “It was one of the best places I ever stayed,” she says of her year-and-a-half-long placement. “We learned life skills like how to budget and how to spend money, how to look for housing, a job, even how to cook. Not only that, but we got experience with working – my sister in the store and me in the cafeteria. They deposited money in savings accounts for us to have in case of an emergency. They also gave us an allowance, which meant so much to me. I’m a saver.”

The agency’s Learning Enhancement Center, which helps diagnose and treat learning disabilities, helped considerably, she says. “I had a hard time focusing because of being in foster care – it took all the focus I had just trying to get through the day.” Terri graduated high school with her class and took college courses in child development – “I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher” – before marrying and becoming a mother of two.

She and her sister were reunited with their family when Terri was a junior in high school, but she has fond memories of her time at the agency. “I’m surprised that David & Margaret isn’t better known,” she muses. “They offer so much!”

March 9, 2018

Spotlight: National Social Workers Month

At David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, we're fortunate to have some of the best social workers and therapists in the business. As part of National Social Workers Month, we'll be highlighting one each week during March. First up: meet Diandra! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1niJ_CkP6UBu1nTCi18gK860n7hoHPqXH/view

 
March 7, 2018
 

 

 

Vicky Camarella, Director, Youth Workforce Training Program

The Youth Workforce Training Program is the one of the newest additions to the 108-year-old David & Margaret Youth and Family Services, and it’s being led by the agency’s newest director, Vicky Camarella. Camarella came to David & Margaret with a wealth of retail and e-commerce management experience.

The program is housed in a new facility on the agency’s south campus, and includes The Store @ David & Margaret and Dave & Maggie’s Café, both open to the public. They are designed to provide youth who are transitioning out of foster care, and into independence, with the basic skills they will need to get and keep a job.

Most transitional age foster youth have never held a job before. To help boost their chances of success, they receive extensive coaching from program staff before they are placed in an internship at the store or café. The program also includes paid internships at partnering local businesses, paid for by the agency, to expand the youths’ awareness of the myriad opportunities the marketplace holds.

Another aspect of the program is the Cedar Springs Apartments, also on campus, which provides supportive housing to former foster youth. Housing is the biggest hurdle faced by these youth, and without a secure place to live, they are less apt to be successful in other areas of their lives.

A group study project at the University of La Verne is working with her to create a business plan for the center. “I want to build our business and help these foster youth integrate,” Camarella says. “The store and café are driven by our community, and serve the purpose of helping the youth in our program. My dream is that kids who are here will come back someday and be the leaders on this campus.”


March 6, 2018
 

5 Questions: An Interview with Cynthia Corralejo

Lead Store Clerk, Youth Workforce Training Center

 

What do you most enjoy about working at David & Margaret?

I enjoy working with the staff and our clients. I like to train them, be a role model for them. I like my customers, and receiving and processing donations. I believe in David & Margaret’s mission, so I like to make money for it.

What was the most memorable experience you’ve had at David & Margaret?

Transitioning from the store’s old location in the Whitney Building, where I worked for 14 years, to the new location in the Youth Workforce Training Center. I enjoyed setting up the shelves and getting things ready to open.

If you could learn anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn nursing, but I’ve been in the retail field for 21 years!

Who are your role models?

Ed (Koshmider, store manager) and Juliette (Bidinger, former Resources manager). I can always go to Ed and get advice, get help with any problem.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a police officer. I thought I could be brave and strong, protecting myself and helping others in the community, making a difference.

Feb. 27, 2018

How We Help Foster Youth 'Age Out' Successfully

Our Executive Director, Charles Rich, recently spoke with KOST radio in Los Angeles about how David & Margaret Youth and Family Services is helping youth who are transitioning out of foster care and into independent life. Click here to listen: https://kost1035.iheart.com/featured/the-sunday-journal/content/2018-01-12-local-foster-home-opening-store-to-the-public/

 
Feb. 20, 2018
 

Part of the Cedar Springs Apartments complex

 

 

People, Not Numbers

 

David & Margaret clients are not statistics, not sound bites, not test scores or assessment ratings. They are, first and foremost, people – each one with unique strengths and challenges. Here is Robin’s story. Her name is fictional, but her story is not.

 

Robin is a foster youth who is transitioning out of foster care and into life on her own. She endured a very difficult childhood and serious mental health issues, and yet, through hard work and determination, she is expanding her life skills, employment, and educational experience. She is blossoming as an individual.

 

While working with Robin, it became clear to Social Worker Supervisor Wayne that she would do best by transitioning out of foster care and into the Cedar Springs Permanent Supportive Housing on David & Margaret’s south campus. This move would allow her to achieve her goals of growth and independence, while providing her clinical support and sense of familiarity.

 

He and Robin’s transitional social worker, Megan, worked closely with Robin, and they both advocated for this transition. Megan helped her gather the required paperwork and take the necessary assessments - but they hit a snag. Robin didn’t score high enough on the assessment to be placed at Cedar Springs. Wayne, Megan, and Program Supervisor Marissa agreed that the assessment didn’t accurately capture her level of need, so they teamed up to fight the ruling. 

 

A conference call was set up between Robin’s advocates at David & Margaret and the two supervisors who oversee the placement of clients into Cedar Springs. Both supervisors said that Robin couldn’t be considered because of her assessment score. Wayne described her clinical needs, though, and the importance of how Cedar Springs can meet her long-term needs, while making her feel safe and supported.

 

Marissa told the supervisors that social workers need to look beyond assessments and make the call that is best for clients as individuals. After about 20 minutes of deliberation, both the supervisors agreed with the David & Margaret staff, and Robin will most likely be moving in to her new housing this month. 

 

For more information on the Transitional Housing Programs: (909) 596-5921, ext. 3625 or ScholefieldM@DavidandMargaret.org.