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As a supervisor for the PCHAS foster care team in Austin, Hope Walker ensures that children in foster care and the families who care for them receive the best her staff have to offer.
Hope brings more than 25 years of experience at Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to her role at PCHAS. She supervises several foster care case managers who are responsible for training, licensing and supporting foster parents and kinship caregivers in the Austin area.
“The best thing about my team is their willingness to learn, develop and do their best every day,” she says.
Hope’s typical day can change at the drop of a hat, depending on an emergency situation or the needs of her staff. Usually, she checks her email and responds to inquiries from potential foster families first thing in the morning. She meets with her staff daily about plans of service, admission assessments and other aspects of case documentation. She also makes home visits with her staff to monitor home activities as well as to mentor her staff on appropriate case actions.
“The thing I love most about being a supervisor is helping my team assess where we are currently, where we need to be, and how we will get there,” she says. “Then I enjoy celebrating their accomplishments.”
In an effort to constantly improve, Hope keeps a binder that she adds items to each day when she learns or thinks of something new that will allow the program to better serve children and families. One client in particular helped Hope realize how she could improve her supervision and opened up possibilities for additional growth. A single foster parent had become overwhelmed with foster parenting. She felt isolated and didn’t know where to turn. Hope was able to help her determine what her exact frustrations were and, in turn, the client helped Hope identify things that she feels will be valuable to add to the foster care training and support groups.
At the end of the day, for Hope, the best part of her job is “when a child reaches permanency while receiving real love and the best care from our foster and kinship parents, and my team.”