By: Alison Mengel, Director of Permanency
Healing Homes, 18 Degrees’ foster care program, provides children a welcoming home to heal in a culture of love, acceptance, and consistency. As a social worker for Healing Homes, Emily approaches each case by learning all she can to establish that vital relationship of trust with a child and their family. She uses a holistic approach to support their physical, social, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Being a cisgender woman does not get in the way of her informed and instrumental work supporting gender non-conforming youth. She has identified gender–affirming therapists and informed Mass Health when none exist in a particular geographic area. By advocating for appropriate services for young people as they navigate into adulthood, Emily helps provide a healthy and safe environment for them to develop.
Emily meets each of the children she supports where they are. By joining them for activities like ice skating, hiking, working out at the gym, creating arts and crafts, making a life book, engaging with birth parents, and sharing meals while introducing previously untried foods, she brings to light their interests and talents.
For Emily, this is not “a job.” She is an innovator and collaborator. She looks for ways to strengthen our partnership with Springfield College, where she is matriculating for a Masters in Social Work. She will be interning at the state Office of the Child Advocate in the fall. When she has had a tough week, her reflection includes, “what could I have done differently?” She actively seeks feedback.
Emily enjoys the outdoors and traveling to interesting places. During these travels with friends, the end of a day may include savoring a cold and hoppy IPA. Emily shares her witty sense of humor with co-workers and friends.