Sue Leshe has been a Family Development Specialist with Good Shepherd. She started out working as a case management position for 4 years and transferred to the Licensing Unit where she has been for almost two years. Sue explained that her role as a case manager has given her greater insight into what foster families are experiencing and what responsibilities they are “taking on”. Sue received her BS in Elementary Education and an MA in Counseling. Sue believes that her education degree assisted with child development and the skills necessary to work with children and their families in a successful manner. She credits her counseling degree as helping with her over-all interactions with children and biological families, helps her see different perspectives and how to resolve challenges and adjust to changes.
Sue’s role can best be described as the person “worker” who goes into a family setting after they have made the decision to foster whether the family is a relative, kinship, or foster home. The foster parents will be the ones who will work with children who have been removed from their family of origin. Her role is to assess the family’s appropriateness to become a licensed provider through the state of Missouri. She will work through initial licensure and then continue to assess and coach these foster parents until they no longer wish to foster.
Sue shared that her most rewarding experience is licensing a family, seeing them take a placement, working with them through the challenges and watching their successes.
One of the challenges in working the assessment process with families is that it can feel “intrusive”. Relatives often don’t understand why we have to ask very personal questions.
She feels that licensing workers often don’t get the recognition for “what we do”. Sue shared that she came into this field “totally blind” after not working for 13 years prior. It was a shock to the system but she feels it has been a tremendous positive learning experience.
For anyone thinking of becoming foster parents, Sue shared that the family should not enter into it “lightly”. They should take time to think it over and explore the impact it may have on their own family as it can be life changing. Make sure that it is the right decision for all family members.