Meet the newest member of the Resource Development team, Bridget Kastner. Bridget has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She feels that her education helped to prepare her to work with people from all walks of life. Bridget has used her education in the past nine years, working as a foster care case manager with Good Shepherd.
Bridget is passionate about her work and this shows through her dedication to children and families in foster care. She does wish that others knew how rewarding her work can be and that it is not all crisis management and stressful situations; as is commonly assumed. Bridget explains that her best moments have been watching the parent of a child make positive changes in order to be reunified with their child and to know that she helped the family.
Of course, Bridget recognizes that the foster care system has its flaws and she would like to see improvement in resources available to families and the lack of funding available. She also is frustrated by the difficulty in navigating systems of foster care, such as the family court. In her new role as a Family Development Specialist, Bridget looks forward to guiding foster parents as they encounter challenges.
Bridget’s responsibilities include licensing and supporting foster homes as they journey through the foster care system. She also assists the case management staff with adoption and guardianship subsidy contracts and files when a child reaches permanency. If Bridget could give her younger self some advice, she states that “self-care is really important for any person working in a helping profession.” Bridget has learned to practice self-care and will encourage her foster parents to take time for themselves, as well.
Bridget is still learning her new role, but what she has already learned through her experience in foster care is that being a foster parent is the “most rewarding and challenging job that you can do”. She encourages anyone considering how they can help to take the next step and learn about fostering.