Staff Spotlight: Meet Brad VanDenend

Title at WMPC: Clinical Liaison

West Michigan Partnership for Children’s Clinical Liaison, Brad VanDenend, assess the needs of youth in care and connects them with available and appropriate support. He enjoys working with members of the community to help create better futures for children and families. 

Brad believes that consistent, patient, and loving care has an incredible impact on a child’s ability to overcome and heal from traumatic experiences. He works to bridge the child welfare and mental health systems together.

“My hope for WMPC is that we continue to advance a trauma-informed perspective on all levels of the Kent County Foster Care System; including the impact the work has on those involved in supporting the youth and families served by this system,” says Brad.

Number of years you’ve worked in the nonprofit industry: 15 years


1. What is your role at WMPC? What are your responsibilities in this role?

As a clinical liaison, I work to bridge the child welfare and mental health systems. I help assess the needs of youth in care and connect them with available and appropriate supports.
  

2. What is the most rewarding part about your job?

As a clinical liaison, I work to bridge the child welfare and mental health systems. I help assess the needs of youth in care and connect them with available and appropriate supports.
  

3. What is the most rewarding part about your job?

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to play a role in creating better futures for children and families. There are so many amazing people in our community engaged in brilliant, innovative, and often difficult work to bring about this end and to be part of it is humbling.  

4. On the flip side, what is the most challenging part about your job?

One of the more challenging parts of the work is to navigate the knowledge and emotion of the hurt and need that exists in our community. It’s inspiring to be part of a team that regularly honors the work and celebrates the successes as we support each other

5. As a brand new start-up, what inspired you to want to work for WMPC?

I was immediately drawn to WMPC’s mission of ‘empowering communities to create better futures for children and families through innovation and collaboration.’ Our community offers a wide variety of services through a host of service providers. Bringing these together through collaboration to innovate new and creative ways of supporting and empowering families is something that I am excited to be part of. 

6.  What is one thing you wish people knew about foster care?

One thing I wish people knew about foster care is the impact that consistent, patient, and loving care has on a child’s ability to heal from traumatic experiences. Healthy relationships are one of the most important factors in a child’s ability to recover and thrive.

7. How has your position at WMPC and your experience in the nonprofit industry changed your perspective?

Working in the nonprofit industry has helped me realize how much can be accomplished when we work together. Even with limited resources, amazing work is being done to promote well-being and foster resiliency.

8. What is your hope for WMPC and the Kent County foster care system?  

My hope for WMPC is that we continue to advance a trauma-informed perspective on all levels of the Kent County Foster Care System; including the impact the work has on those involved in supporting the youth and families served by this system.

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