KidsPeace operates Foster Care and Community Programs offices across the country. While referral agencies attempt to achieve permanency for these children through placement with other family members, they still have many children to place in treatment foster homes with highly trained families like those recruited and trained by KidsPeace.


With shrinking tax revenues and diminishing funds to take care of the needs of foster children in care, KidsPeace associates often feel frustration with having sufficient families to meet needs of referred children. Program Manager Jennifer Brown of the KidsPeace Merrillville, IN, FCCP office has decided to be innovative in motivating and encouraging her eight-person team of associates.


Jennifer has created two award programs that she bestows on her dedicated staff members: the Pit Bull Award and the Crusader Award. These recognitions encourage associates to fight their daily battles fearlessly, and to be strong advocates for the children in the Foster Care program.



“People who work with me have always characterized me as a pit bull because I fight hard and never give up on getting as much assistance for our children as possible,” Jennifer said. “This gave me the idea for the Pit Bull award, which is presented to an associate weekly.” The initial award is a Pit Bull pin with the associate’s name on it, and subsequent awards include adding dog bones to the pin, a dog bone bracelet and a dog bone tiara.


The Crusader Award includes a helmet, sword, breastplate and shield and has been given only once so far to Jen Gaskill for sticking with it and winning the battle for a particularly difficult case. The other associates are now vying for the honor of taking the Crusader gear from Jen and claiming it as their own.


“I believe that this is a very positive incentive that has everyone excited about our ‘Save a Kid Challenge’ campaign that is both fun and empowering,” Jennifer said. She has gone to the community for prizes, and businesses have donated manicures and haircuts, with more to come.


This was Jennifer’s plan to build resiliency among the associates who deal with frequent policy changes that send children home too soon only to see them back in crisis and in need of another foster home. Congratulations to Jennifer for being innovative and encouraging to the associates in her office.