Amaris and Joanna

by Cathy Donoso, LICSW, Foster Care Program Manager

Joanna Bissell joined the LAYC Foster Care program in July 2014 as a Foster Care Social Worker. Joanna later transitioned to the role of Family Resource Specialist in November 2015. Throughout her time at LAYC, Joanna has demonstrated an exemplary level of care and commitment to her clients. As a social worker, she went above and beyond her role to ensure that her clients felt cared for and that they had opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. Joanna was able to use the clinical knowledge of working with her foster care clients when she transferred to her new role where she recruits and supports foster parents.

Amaris Montes joined the LAYC Foster Care program in March 2015 as a Family Resource Specialist. Amaris is very dedicated to her role and works diligently on the multitude of tasks involved in recruiting, licensing, and supporting foster parents. Amaris maintains positive relationships with the foster parents who offer nothing but glowing reports of their experiences working with her. Amaris is a dependable member of the team who can always be counted on to execute her tasks efficiently and effectively.

Together, Joanna and Amaris provide invaluable contributions to the program. This year they have been working on an ambitious recruitment plan to license more foster parents. The plan comes from their own initiative and vision on the best ways to help make more stable, loving families available to children and youth in the foster care system in D.C. As part of the plan, they provided a beautiful video showcasing LAYC foster parents’ work with children and families, got an article published in Prince of Petworth, circulated a quarterly newsletter to community partners, and have created a strong presence for the program on social media. As a result of their excellent efforts there are currently at least seven new families beginning the licensing process and preparing to serve our clients.

Their positions are demanding; requiring them to be on call 24/7, which can mean waking up in the middle night to field calls about emergency placements to match a child in need with an appropriate foster family. Yet Joanna and Amaris consistently approach their roles with a positive attitude, and are always available when colleagues need support. Their dedication is an asset to the team!

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