Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.
All month long, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy their stories.
Jennifer Christensen, Arlington
Jennifer is an incredible foster parent that extends endless amounts of patience and exuberant compassion as she works with the family’s first foster youth. She and her family have been working with this “hard to place” youth for just over a year.
For a small person, the child has done large amounts of physical damage to their home, her room has needed a complete overhaul and she has been physically, verbally and emotionally abusive to them. Despite this, Jennifer continues to be a strong advocate for supportive services and a wide range of local resources to help this little girl increase her ability to self-regulate, to learn how to read and do math (academic skills that previously had been overlooked in lieu of focusing on her behavioral management) and reduce her trauma by providing stability.
Within this placement, this child has been provided with a loving family for security, where she feels protected, cared for and is now thriving. Jennifer continues to advocate intensely, utilizing her professional knowledge of early education, trauma and attachment to revise this youth’s academic plan, implementing effective therapies that produce strong positive growth and toward building a positive network of community friends and professionals.
Jennifer makes sure to create self-care time for herself and the other members of the family to build resilience through the youth’s tantrums and big behavioral times. Recognizing that the youth is thriving in this environment through her positive growth in personal skills that have been obtained this past year, has further inspired Jennifer’s own compassion and inner strength to see how far this child may blossom.
Nominator: Sheila Bradley
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