In our series, Behind the Desk, we’re catching up with some of the incredibly talented, dedicated, and caring individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re featuring Audrey Williams, a Kinship Worker who works out of our St. Paul office.
Although we’re working remotely these days, Audrey’s positive energy and warm spirit continue to brighten the days and lives of others. Her supervisor Heidi says, “Audrey is full of passion, compassion and has an incredible way of connecting with others. Her energy for this work is felt by all of those around her. She pours her heart and soul into what she is doing to assist relatives and kin in the Foster Care & Adoption Program—helping them when they desire to move forward. Audrey’s sense of humor, ability to lift up those around her, and to see the bright side of things makes her an incredible person to work alongside!”
Outside of work, Audrey is an avid reader, enjoys kicking back and enjoying her favorite shows on Hulu, and has even been taking advantage of the free courses offered by Harvard during COVID-19. (She is currently enrolled in the Child Protection course—talk about #GOALS.) Learn more about Audrey’s life and work below:
What is your current role with CH/LSS and what are some of your primary responsibilities?
My current role is a Kinship Worker. I am responsible for accepting new relative family referrals into our program and aiding them in completing the application process.
What originally drew you to the field of foster care and adoption?
Working with families and helping them to navigate community or governmental systems to locate resources has always been a passion of mine. It is an overwhelming feeling when you are “stuck” and do not know what to do, who to speak with, or how to advocate for what you need. Being able to help at the moment when someone is going through this is one of the most rewarding aspects of life.
What is an example of a success story you’ve recently been a part of?
I had the pleasure of working with a grandmother in Ramsey County whose daughter, sadly, had passed a few months prior to my meeting her. While she was still grieving the loss of her daughter, she was facing a huge barrier of not being able to get a State ID to be licensed for foster care. There was a mix-up from her birth state of Arkansas, and she could not get a State ID. This caused a great load of stress for her on top of the stress of having to deal with the loss of her daughter. After reviewing the documents that were submitted along with her referral, I suggested that we do a name change. We submitted the application for a name change, and it was granted! The grandmother was able to get a State ID, and she was licensed as a foster care provider and moved forward and officially adopted her granddaughter!
What is one of the most rewarding parts of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that at the end of the day I’ve played a huge part in helping families to navigate a process that can be cumbersome—at best—and have given them the assurance that they are not alone.
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! What is some advice you might give to an individual or couple who are thinking of becoming foster parents?
Make sure that this is something that you really want to do because these children are depending on you! They need and deserve to be in loving and safe homes—so please do not take this lightly.
What is something that you wish people knew about foster care and adoption that they might not?
That the eligibility process is much easier than it was in the past. There is not any discrimination based on race, sexuality, gender, finances, or location. If you are at least 21 years old, you are eligible to adopt or be licensed for foster care.
How have you been staying sane during quarantine? Do you have any hobbies and interests outside of work that you have been leaning on during this time?
I have taken up waist beads as well as getting caught up on my reading. That has allowed me to stay somewhat occupied. I am also taking advantage of the free courses offered by Harvard. I have enrolled in the Child Protection course.
What is the last great movie, TV show or book you read?
The last great movie was Bad Boys for Life (I love most of Will Smith’s movies). I binge-watch Divorce Court, The Golden Girls, My 600-lb Life and Living Single —all on Hulu. I have also discovered a new Christian Urban Books author, Lakisha Johnson, and have read at least six of her books during quarantine!
Do you have a favorite saying, quote or mantra that makes you laugh, gives you peace, or provides you with wisdom?
I sure do! My favorite saying is “Your Life is a gift from God, what you do with it is your gift to God!” This is my signature line on my personal emails as well as on my voicemail.
What is something that always brings a smile to your face?
The ability to help others. If I can help somebody, I know that my living is not in vain!