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.
Kasey Knutson, Kittitas
Kasey Knutson is a single mother of two children who have diagnosed disabilities.
As close friends of Kasey’s, we’ve been part of her strong support system as she has experienced her children’s significant struggles and everything else that comes with parenting two children with special needs. She’s dealt with medications, psychiatrists, mental health therapists, school special education programs, emergency rooms, hospitalizations, 911 calls, first responders, police departments, and a system of mental health and disability supports that is very difficult to navigate.
She has welcomed multiple caregivers into her home and her family so that they can get all the help they need. But what amazes us most about Kasey, and what leads us to nominate her for the Unsung Hero Award, is that she endures and embraces challenges that most parents will never know, all while working full-time in public health communications and coordinating local developmental disabilities services as a person with lived experience, giving back to her community, and serving as a proud and fierce advocate for her children as well as other families.
She fights hard for her boys, not only to get what they need, but also because she knows that not everyone is able to advocate as strongly as she can. She recognizes what’s broken in our systems and services, and fights to make sure it is known how this impacts children and families with mental health and developmental disabilities.
Nominators: Robin Read, Megan Day, Amy Claussen, Sarah Bedsau