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
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.