By Clarissa Fernandes, Foster Home Developer, Big Island
There are many benefits and challenges as a Foster Home Developer in East Hawaii. During my four years at Hale Kipa, my position and the program have evolved greatly. I find my position to be very challenging, gratifying and fulfilling. I have had a great amount of professional and personal growth during my time at Hale Kipa.
It has always been a challenge to find good resource caregivers. It is a commitment and lifestyle change when an individual and/or family decides that they want to foster. Not only do they open their home to a youth, they open their home to our program staff. That’s not always an easy thing to do as it seems that eyes are on you all the time. We try to truly support our families and anticipate and listen to their needs. It takes courage and an open heart to be a resource caregiver.
I find Hale Kipa’s Transitional Family Homes program to be very unique among the programs available in East Hawaii. I enjoy being able to wear many hats in my position. I am able to be with the resource caregivers through the entire process, from the initial phone call to licensing, placement, and discharge. I enjoy working with the resource caregivers individually and in a group setting. I find it very fulfilling to help resource caregivers develop their skills, identify their strengths, and work with them on areas of growth. While it’s not always a smooth road, helping the youth be in a stable, loving family is a gift.
Please spread the word to all of your family members on the East side of the island of Hawaii that we are always on the lookout for these extra-special people – resource caregivers. Have them call me, Clarissa Fernandes, at (808)969-1935!