Meet Esther: Care Coordinator for the Family Reunification Housing Subsidy Program (FRHSP)
My name is Esther and I have been with 211 LA since 2016. I served as a Community Resource Advisor for two years and have since become a Care Coordinator for the Family Reunification Housing Subsidy Program at the Edelman Children’s Court. This new position has been a blessing for me in many ways.
FRHSP Care Coordinator:
What’s the job?
I work with the families that have an open DCFS case and are ready to reunify with their child, who has been temporarily taken out of their custody. These families have completed the case plan ordered by the court but still need housing before they can be reunited with their child. When this happens, the parents are granted a Housing Assessment Referral (aka Court Order) to our office.
The 211 LA office at Edelman Children’s Court is open on weekdays for families with new housing orders or those seeking an update from their court date. When parents with new housing orders come to my office I start by explaining the program to them. I then ask them a series of intake questions and enter the relevant information into CareLinQ, 211 LA’s case management software. Once this is complete, I identify the correct agency that can support the family in securing housing. Through a warm hand-off to this agency the family is provided with move-in fees; and on occasion assisted in obtaining furniture and appliances. Throughout the process I conduct follow-up calls with families I’m actively working with to ensure they are able to successfully secure housing.
Cases open for many reasons but seeing the parents’ dedication to improving their situation in order to regain custody and secure housing is indescribable.
Prior to a DCFS case opening many families do not realize they put their children at risk of harm when there is abuse within the household. When there is a domestic violence in the family but children have not been physically harmed, a DCFS case can still be opened as a “Failure to Protect Child” incident. Parents often struggle to understand what that means. I help explain to the parents why this type of incident is harmful to children. I describe how children are like sponges, they absorb everything. Although the parent may think they’ll grow up and forget about the domestic violence, that’s not the case. Even witnessing violence can have lasting emotional and mental effects on a child’s wellbeing.
As a Care Coordinator I get to see firsthand how the families move forward from this place to regain custody and secure housing. I watch them overcome barrier after barrier, and never give up. I feel proud to be able to help these families and although the work isn’t a walk in the park and some cases are tough, at the end of the day I am happy to have helped children reunify with their parents. There is nothing like hearing a client say “Thank you for being there” at the end of it all.