Jamie Bozarth marks 25 years with Spaulding for Children
In a field where staff burn-out and turn-over are common, Spaulding for Children stands out as an exception to the rule by attracting and retaining outstanding personnel. Chief example is the longest serving member of the Spaulding team, Jamie Bozarth, Quality Improvement/Human Resource Director.
Ms. Bozarth’s career started 30 years ago in the non-profit sector as a specialist in child welfare. She worked in two child placement agencies in the metro Detroit area as a Licensing Worker before coming to Spaulding in 1993. In all her time in the field, she has looked forward to her work every day. The reason, she said, is Spaulding exemplifies a family oriented philosophy. She shares insight how.
“Team members believe in the mission; and they live it, every day,” Ms. Bozarth said. “At Spaulding, members of the staff are expected to get the job done. And you will never hear, ‘That’s not my job.’”
That feeling of responsibility is combined with a family ethos that permeates everything from the staff functions to flexible schedules, she added.
“We help each other get through whatever is happening in life – especially if it’s with one of our employee’s family members,” Ms. Bozarth said. “Family emergency? Go take care of it. School closed? Bring your children to work. Whatever it takes, we work together to make certain the job gets done.”
She was hired at Spaulding as a Licensing/Intake Worker, then promoted to a Foster Team Leader position in 1996. She was promoted to serve as the Quality Improvement/Human Resource Director in 2001, when she moved to the Administrative side of Spaulding.
She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Calvin College and her Master’s Degree in Leadership in Community Development from Central Michigan University.
Over 25 years Jamie has observed many changes in child welfare, starting as an intake worker, then as a caseworker. The expectations put on the foster families now are greater. The kids have more and complicated issues that start earlier and are more severe. Plus, the State asks more of parents each year.
SFC counters these challenges by supporting our foster families in many ways.
- We build relationships with the families and among the families so they can support each other.
- We provide more than the required number of home visits.
- We have monthly meetings with parents and staff a 24-hour support line for them.
- We create events and resources for the families – both social and learning events.
- We provide a very in depth and realistic orientation so they can see what lays ahead.
From her leadership and senior positions, she puts into practice at Spaulding principles she applies to the families the organization serves.
“It isn’t just money,” Ms. Bozarth said. “We are competitive in pay. Each employee gets benefits and related support. There’s more, though. We want to make certain each employee is appreciated. We celebrate birthdays, Volunteer Appreciation Day, Employee of the Month lunches, summer picnics and holiday parties.
“This is hard work. You really have to care about people. We want the children and families we serve to do better – be in better places. That requires we work hard, long and stressful hours. The thing is, once you are with SFC, you are family.”