Devereux Staff Share Program Insights
by Debra Howard, Community Outreach & Marketing Manager
Although there is a tremendous need for both traditional and therapeutic homes, a spike in the number of kids with more intensive behaviors means an even greater shortage of therapeutic homes. Because therapeutic foster care requires providers to have additional training and previous experience with children, the pool of candidates is much smaller. In addition, even those that meet the requirements may opt to provide regular foster care as therapeutic care requires additional time and skill sets to meet children’s needs.
For those considering therapeutic foster care (also referred to as HCTC -- Home Care Training to Home Care Client) or for current foster parents wanting to transition into therapeutic care, Devereux offers a team of caring professionals who passionately advocate for the kids they serve and the foster families caring for them. I went behind the scenes and talked to our staff to find out the inner workings of Devereux’s HCTC foster care program and its success with the children served.
Diana Iniguez-Corlew, Pima HCTC Manager, and Robin Carr, Maricopa HCTC Coordinator, credit Devereux’s internal support combined with staff dedication to the program’s success. Diana also shared, “The HCTC team excels in the ability to network with community leaders and recognize and understand that children need a safe, stable environment where they can grow within a loving family, feel the joy of success, and learn responsibility.”
Bonnie Barnes and Ndolia Carew, HCTC Specialists from both Pima and Maricopa programs, have the longest involvement with therapeutic foster care. Ndolia, a 10-year Devereux HCTC veteran, talked about the respect she has for therapeutic providers because of their dedication and strength in caring for the kids. Bonnie, involved with the program since 2009, agreed and also mentioned how amazed she is at the sacrifices our providers continue to make. She summed it up with, “Being a parent is a never-ending job, with long hours and great sacrifice, but it comes with the reward of making a significant difference in the life of a child.”
Amanda Virkler, a newcomer to the Devereux team, has been an HCTC Specialist in Maricopa for the past six months. When asked her opinion of the program and Devereux’s providers, she responded, “I think Devereux goes above and beyond to find the right providers. Devereux’s program is great because they truly focus on the child, provider, and the therapeutic need.”
Amanda Gatlin and Rayleen Carangio are relatively new to Devereux but no strangers to therapeutic foster care. Amanda, Maricopa HCTC Specialist, is a licensed therapeutic provider herself who adopted a therapeutic foster care child and continues to provide care. She currently has one placement in her home and as a result, has an in-depth understanding of what it takes to be an HCTC provider and the commitment families have to make to care for the kids. Rayleen, Pima HCTC Specialist, also understands the complicated needs of an HCTC child as she has worked in the field for several agencies before coming to Devereux. In fact, Rayleen wanted to become a part of the Devereux HCTC team because she had worked previously with Devereux therapeutic staff and was impressed by their knowledge and passion.
Ashley Clark, Pima HCTC Specialist, is also a recent addition to the Devereux team but not a newcomer to HCTC care. When asked if there were any surprises about therapeutic foster care she responded, “When I talk about the work I do [with others]…I can talk about the variety of behaviors and issues we come across in these kids and [I] still will rave about what good kids they are and how much I love working with them.” Ashley also shared her frustration with the number of kids needing care and the shortage of homes. She stated, “There are so many kids out there that need help and we can only help a very limited number of them because of the limited number of homes and HCTC spots that we have.”
The statewide therapeutic teams are in agreement that they would love to “clone” their amazing Devereux therapeutic providers to meet the needs of the thousands of children in care. Short of that, they continue to rely on provider referrals and dedicated individuals in the community to step up, join the Devereux team, and say yes to helping therapeutic foster children.