From the Guy Thompson Champion for Reunification Nomination Letter:
Jennifer Land is a supervisor at Spaulding for Children who has worked to guide staff in all that is required to help get kids back home — and often times it takes a personal commitment — and many hours on everyone’s part.
Recently, Jen was a supervisor working with two teenage girls and their father. Unfortunately, both girls needed to have an immediate removal from their foster home and the options for foster homes for two teenage girls was extremely limited. Jen worked hard to try and get them to be returned home, but due to unforeseen issues it was not safe to return home. Knowing that the girls and the family might be starting all over if the case was transferred and they went to a shelter, Jen convinced a foster parent who had never taken teen girls to take in these two youths.
The foster parent agreed on a temporary basis until we could hopefully get the girls back home to dad. Jen advocated for the agency to pay for the girls to get their hair done over the weekend because not only was it needed, but she knew the foster parent had done us a great favor. Jen also assisted in transporting the girls to and from school so they could remain in their same school. She discussed with the worker why it was so important for the girls to have some consistency and highlighted why it was so important for them to keep in contact with their friends.
The girls were able to be reunited with their father and they also maintained a relationship with the foster parent. As they still attend school close to the foster parent, they often stay with her and consider her an aunt. This arrangement was made between the birth parent, the youth and the foster parent and this support system now created will help keep the family stable. Jen’s advocacy for the girls and for the family was modeled for the staff,not just through conversations, but also by doing the work. From getting up early and taking the girls to and from school, to working hard to make it work with another foster family and recognizing that poverty does not mean neglect — Jen did not rest until the girls were safe and reunited.