West Michigan Partnership for Children Care Coordinator, Cathrine Raftery, is passionate about giving a voice to children in foster care and advocating for system change. Cathrine’s motivation stemmed from her previous roles, where she worked directly in the foster care field: “If you can’t foster then volunteer, if you can’t volunteer then donate, if you can’t donate then educate.”
Continue reading to learn more about Cathrine:
What is your role at WMPC? What are your responsibilities in this role?
I am one of four care coordinators at WMPC. I work with two of WMPC’s five partner agencies: Samaritas and Wellspring Lutheran Services. Within my role, I help support the two partner agencies by providing case oversight, consultation, and different trainings. I also help facilitate the Child Placing Network with all five of the private agencies and Child Protective Services (CPS).
What is the most rewarding part about your job?
I have really enjoyed working with all five of WMPC’s partner agencies, but I’ve particularly enjoyed working directly with the two I’m assigned — Samaritas and Wellspring Lutheran Services. I love that I am able to help answer any questions and be able to sit down with a youth’s team and think outside of the box to determine how we can help their unique situation.
One of my favorite things that WMPC has been able to implement since its inception is Enhanced Foster Care. This program has been able to provide the additional support foster families and/or relatives need to be able to keep children in their existing communities rather than residential settings.
On the flip side, what is the most challenging part about your job?
Change is always a slow process and does not happen overnight. Seeing what WMPC has accomplished since it launched in October 2017 makes me excited to see what will happen as the organization grows.
As a brand new start-up, what inspired you to want to work for WMPC?
My inspiration to work at an organization like WMPC began when I began working in the field and saw firsthand that there needed to be a change within the existing system. My passion lies within advocating for children, and I enjoy being in the background and advocating to make positive system change I am able to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the five private agencies to help give these children a voice.
How has your position at WMPC and your experience in the nonprofit industry changed your perspective?
My position at WMPC has opened my eyes to the foster care system as a whole, rather than just the youth that I am working with. It has given me a positive mindset to know that our collaboration with the private agencies, subcontractors, and MDHHS can help support all the families we work with.
What is your hope for WMPC and the Kent County foster care system?
I hope that we are able to help not just our county but all the counties in Michigan to strive to give the best support to the families we are working with. I hope to see positive outcomes for our youth and to move them into permanent settings.
To reach Cathrine directly, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org