Who We Are
At Family Works Programs we are committed to creating a healthy environment for all members of the Family Works Programs community, a community in which we identify and solve problems in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.
How We Support Foster Families
Becoming a foster parent or respite provider is a big decision! We are here to support you every step of the way. We know that the times when you need support may not fit neatly into business hours and that is why a social worker is available to you 24 hours/day, 7 days/week! They also maintain regular contact with you through frequent visits and phone calls. There is always someone here when you need us.
Ongoing education is a key aspect of being a foster parent. On our Resources page, you’ll find links to information to begin your foster parent journey including the state’s foster parent handbook, pre-placement training, and organizations that support foster parents throughout Wisconsin.
We’ve also included information on trauma and trauma-informed care. Understanding trauma is a key role of foster parenting. Many of our children are impacted by trauma, and trauma-informed care equips our staff and foster parents with tools to meet a child’s needs effectively. We hope you will take the time to learn more about this as well.
In addition, our agency supports you in learning about specific topics through monthly support and training meetings. These meetings allow you to build relationships with other Family Works families, consult with our team of social workers, and gain more knowledge and skills to care for the youth in your home.
We are here to be of service to kids, families, and communities
A commitment to improving the quality of life for those around us is our highest priority. Everything we do is measured in terms of its impact on the best interests of the kids we serve, their families, and our treatment parent colleagues and Family Works staff.
We work with integrity
Our effectiveness is based upon honest interaction. Ongoing, thorough, and candid evaluation of ourselves and our impact on others is necessary for building a healthy environment in which kids can grow. What we do and say reflects our personal integrity; we serve as models for all around us.
Children and youth have expertise and strengths to build upon
The most effective way to help others, including children and youth, is to openly recognize their strengths and acknowledge that they are experts in their lives. Messages confirming these beliefs are likely to lead them toward further self discovery, understanding, and responsibilities.
We strive for excellence in everything we do
The nature of our work carries with it a moral obligation to be the best. Our motivation starts from within. We evaluate ourselves and our actions conscientiously and are open to the feedback of others.
Our work is most effective when we treat each other with dignity and respect
Even the most intense and emotion-laden messages may be sent with respect, acknowledging the inherent worth and dignity of the person receiving that message. Staff, treatment parents, and the kids and families we serve make sense of their lives in different ways. We gain a valuable understanding of them only through respecting those views even as we encourage and sometimes demand change.
We are all teachers
Each interaction with another, however brief, sends messages which may lead to that person’s growth. An impression is left. Each of us, regardless of our role in Family Works, is a teacher much of the time, whether or not it is our intent. Our goal is to make our interactions therapeutic and healthy.
We are all learners
We recognize that we will always continue growing. Others have the capacity to help us along the way toward living a more effective life and being more productive in our work. Heightening our self awareness, increasing our understanding and knowledge of the world around us, and sharpening the skills needed to function most effectively are part of our ongoing lives. We learn from one another.
Work and play overlap
Although the tasks associated with building healthy families are often serious, our effectiveness relates directly to the joy and humor we find in our work. We appreciate and sometimes encourage nonconformity; we value spontaneity; and we promote laughter.
Our commitment to children and families never stops
When kids leave Family Works to live elsewhere, the bond we have formed continues. We remain available to them as extended family, always ready to offer a word of encouragement and lend a supportive hand.
Changes are best accomplished through cooperative and coordinated efforts of many individuals and organizations. The combined ideas, support, and resources of others make our work more effective and satisfying.
We approach our work positively and with optimism
We treat kids, families, and one another respectfully and positively. Respect must not always be “earned”. We send many unconditional messages of approval in the form of greetings, smiles, and genuine inquiries into how a kid’s life is going. We listen carefully and effectively, communicate our caring, and offer words of understanding and encouragement. Positive interaction is the basis for healing and growing.
We are patient and persistent
The change we seek is sometimes a slow and frustrating process. We believe that kids need us to stand by them through tough times and agree to changes in placement only if the child’s interests are best served by a move.
We accept challenges
We often are presented with kids and families who have not experienced success in their attempt to improve their lives. When other systems and organizations have been unsuccessful, we seek new and innovative ways to succeed.
Changes often come in small increments
We notice and focus on small changes. Significant and lasting changes occur a little at a time.
Kids are “stuck,” not “sick” or “bad”
Kids whose behavior has caused problems for themselves or others are usually behaving in ways that work for them. They have learned to manage or cope through these behaviors. They have become stuck in these habits. Our challenge is to help them free themselves from these unproductive and often unpleasant habits by building on strengths and developing new ways to meet their needs.
We are committed to increasing levels of self-awareness; we take responsibility for our emotions and behavior
We possess clear but flexible boundaries; we can distinguish our problems from those of the kids we serve. We can identify sources of aggravation and frustration, recognizing what “pushes kids’ buttons” and what “pushes our buttons.” We understand that kids respond on the basis of past learning; they do what works for them. They do not necessarily aim to hurt us.