Values Recognition

We hold up these Values as foundational to our practice of serving communities and families of Washington, and each other. We strive to live these Values as an organization and as individuals.

  • Respect
  • Inclusivity
  • Support
  • Engagement

Values Recognition Initiative

We celebrate the behavior and actions of our peers through our Values Recognition Initiative. This honor recognizes the extra consideration individuals took to act in line with our values in a way that makes a lasting impression on our organization and the communities we serve. Below you can view those recognized and read more about their impact.

Engagement - January 2024

Shannon is well known in Region 2 as being a responsive and collaborative team member with DCYF. She runs the Regional Advisory Meetings and checks in frequently with offices.

This commitment and availability has helped create trust and familiarity between the Alliance and DCYF. Staff go to her for assistance getting registered for trainings, request coaching, and getting new staff onboarded.

She is an asset to the Alliance’s mission by supporting the values of Engagement by always being strengths based, modeling positive relationships, and building excellent relationships.

Jessica is a champion at providing trainings that are relevant, evidence-informed, trauma-informed and culturally aware and meet the needs of all her attendees. Jessica values everyone’s needs and perspectives and provides a rich learning environment. She models the mission and values of the Alliance in every training for attendees. Jessica has a passion for ensuring learners have the most up-to-date and best practice. Jessica ensures that every learner has a successful interaction and walks away from training with more than expected. Jessica provides the confidence and support that staff need to continue to always improve their practice.

Jessica’s core is in alignment with the Alliance’s mission. She has a passion for innovative and accessible training and supports, that empower those caring for and serving families and communities to provide anti-racist, culturally relevant, trauma-informed services.

Jessica’s commitment to the Alliance’s Mission and Values is directly related to building a solid foundation for a successful future of not only the Alliance but our workforce and caregiver partners and, even more importantly, the families and communities we serve.

Thank you, Jessica, for continuing to inspire learners as well as your peers to continually improve practice by providing integrity in all you do.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leah for being such an amazing manager. I had no idea a shoulder surgery was going to take me out of work for three months, and Leah stepped in and supported me and my team during a difficult time.

I have only experienced great things with Leah. She treats me and my team with kindness, compassion and respect. Leah is a very thoughtful and patient manager, and she makes us all feel seen and heard.

Thank you so much, Leah!

I love working with Peter and I am so glad he is at the Alliance. He is such an embodiment of the engagement value.

He is always trying to be culturally responsive and look for ways to make cultural adaptations where appropriate. He is carefully trauma informed, including showing careful consideration of the secondary trauma experienced by the DCYF workforce. He has done extra outreach with his area DCYF offices to make sure they are aware of his role and of trainings that will take place near their offices.

And finally, he is always living out our fundamental assumption that all individuals deserve to be seen, heard, valued, and recognized.

J has shown wonderful consideration of staff through their recent Midweek Pick-Me-Up initiative.

They collaborated with team members to think through how to get staff more engaged and increase morale. They sought out input at the All Staff meeting, and then continued to move forward with planning and logistics.

I was so impressed with the proactiveness and genuine enthusiasm J showed throughout the process, and I see so much value in bringing this initiative to staff.

Thank you for working so hard to elevate our team experience, J!

Holly has been a wonderful guide in moving the Alliance toward embracing mindfulness and supporting staff in seeing how this practice supports both our work and our whole selves.

Her work shepherding the Midweek Pick-Me-Up with J shows initiative around engaging everyone in how to best incorporate these values. They collaborated with team members to think through how to get staff more engaged and increase morale. They sought out input at the All Staff meeting, and then continued to move forward with planning and logistics.

I appreciate Holly’s calming, centered presence in all her interactions and always feel supported by her.


Thank you for being wonderful, Holly!

I would like to recognize Stacy for offering her help in clearing up the Delridge space and organizing the inventory.

We went through so many binders, sugar packets, storage items, hardware, etc.–we even found the CPR dummies! With Stacy’s expertise in professional organization and “organizing is fun” attitude, she has helped me to tackle this ongoing project and not feel so overwhelmed.

We have created a system where we work hard, take breaks, and bring our fanny packs to hold our phones. I have learned in my time at the Alliance, especially in my current role, that it takes a village and it’s never a bad thing to accept help when it’s offered.

Thank you, Stacy!

I would like to recognize Kate German for doing such a fabulous job of facilitating the conferences in-person.

As the previous Event Planner for virtual conferences, I handed off to Kate what I knew, but she has brought so much more to the position. I couldn’t even begin to imagine myself doing this in-person.

I had the pleasure of helping out with the Supervisors Conference last year, and going to the venue to see her work in action was amazing. There was a nice breakfast spread and well over one hundred people who showed up.

Great job, Kate! I’m so glad that you are our Conference and Event Planning Specialist.

Support — October 2023

Carol has shown a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by DCYF staff and tribal partners, and has actively worked toward finding innovative solutions. Carol has consistently advocated to ensure that the well-being of both populations remains at the forefront of our work.

Robin plays a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community. She has initiated and organized various initiatives that bring people together, creating a network of support and camaraderie. Your efforts have not only strengthened relationships but have also provided a platform for individuals to seek and receive the support they need. Thank you for your leadership and support, Robin.

Shana is one of the most supportive people I know. She is personally supportive to me. Any time I ask for help or feedback for anything she jumps in with both feet and gives enthusiastic support! She is kind, smart, and always helps me take my work to the next level. Shana is also supportive to everyone around her.

I love the thoughtful ways she thinks about supporting folks in a training, supporting caregivers, and supporting youth in care. She is amazing at taking other folks’ perspectives to imagine what they might need and what would be helpful. Shana makes my day brighter every time I interact with her. I am so glad she is my colleague!

Shana supports organizational health directly by increasing employee satisfaction to those around her. She also makes our work better quality in so many ways!

Francis consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that every interaction is handled with the utmost professionalism, efficiency, and care.

He has a remarkable skill for empathizing with others, making them feel heard and valued – probably because of his ability to actively listen and understand their needs. Francis takes the time to ask thoughtful questions, clarify any concerns, and provide personalized solutions, ensuring that everyone feels supported and satisfied.

It can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic, especially being new! However, Erin’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!


J is a true rockstar who goes out of their way to offer support to their colleagues and ensure that they come off as approachable and ready to help!

J is truly exceptional in the way he embraces and prioritizes offering support to his colleagues. It’s a personal value of his and you can see the way he puts it into action in his work every day. J has particularly shined in his work on Smartsheet projects, including the TTT and Skills Acquisition tracking. J has taken it upon himself to learn more about Smartsheet than I think they know about their own product sometimes and make all of our sheets and workflows super easy to use for everyone.

By taking the time to learn these technical skills so well himself, he is able to break down complex processes into bite size steps for our staff, and also to hide the most complex pieces on the backend so that the front end of our solutions just gives people the information they need to be successful.

In developing the Skills Acquisition tracking workflow, J worked to seamlessly connect our RCT registration workflow to the skills acquisition tracking to lessen the amount of administrative work that staff needed to do. He quickly caught on to an issue of duplication of some entries and implemented a helper sheet solution that uses an invisible layer to reduce duplication in the active sheet and make it easier for people to find what they need.

One of the most remarkable qualities of J is his ability to empathize with others and truly understand their needs. Whether it is someone with an issue in Smartsheet or a co-worker having a stressful day, J always takes the time to listen attentively and offer genuine support. His compassionate nature creates a nurturing environment, so I’d like to thank him for his encouraging words and collaborative nature.

I appreciate you more than you know, J, thank you!

Stacy consistently demonstrates a willingness to lend a helping hand. She actively seeks out opportunities to assist others, whether it is by offering her time to collaborate, or simply being a reliable presence.

Her selflessness and dedication to supporting others is truly commendable.

Patty shows support through her ability to approach mistakes with empathy and understanding. Instead of immediately assigning blame or criticizing, she takes the time to listen and understand the circumstances surrounding the error. Patty uses these instances as opportunities for growth and improvement.

She also demonstrates a remarkable ability to hold herself and others accountable in a respectful manner. Patty’s ability to communicate expectations and provide guidance in a respectful manner fosters a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Jay Fulcher has consistently demonstrated the value of support when he provides assistance and encouragement to those needing assistance.

Jay has been a necessary addition to my team from day one. In fact, I don’t know how we got by without him!

When I think of Jay, I think of a team player, innovator, self-starter, motivator, caring, comedian, storyteller, all rolled into one. We all need a “Jay” in our team to keep us grounded.

Jay has contributed so much in terms of projects, relationships, and the human kindness he brings to our environment. We are better people when we spend time around Jay. I feel proud and blessed to call him my colleague.

He treats people with kindness, respect and equity.

With someone like Jay at the helm, our stakeholders will always receive great customer service and feel valued.

Jack’s ability to actively listen, communicate effectively, maintain a positive attitude, and solve problems efficiently with the amount of tickets received is the perfect example of being supportive and removing obstacles to enhance practice.

Jack has been super patient with all of the tickets submitted for ICW Policy Trainings. Thank you for your kindness, clarifying, and patience with me and all others submitting.

Jack directly supported removing obstacles with registration and the Learning Center.

His patience is a gift and Jack never once made me feel like an irritant.

Micah plays an important role in fostering a supportive environment. He encourages collaboration and teamwork, creating a culture where everyone feels comfortable reaching out for help when needed. His positive attitude and willingness to support others have significantly contributed to the overall success of the Alliance.

Micah did my initial 1:1 training and it was SUPER helpful! What I really appreciated was I sent an email and asked for help with SDM-RA. He made time that day. I was so thankful because I needed to get it done. He walked me through the whole process. He didn’t give me answers, he was just patient and let me come up with the answer. He steered me the other way if I was on the wrong track.

I appreciated his patience, kindness, wisdom. He didn’t make me feel like he was rushed or like I was bothering him or like I was dumb for not paying attention in class. Assured me it was normal and encouraged me through it so I didn’t feel stupid. I was a little overwhelmed! I’ve been able to do it myself from open to close now and it’s been super cool!

He also gave me tools, like helping me bookmark places to go back to when I had questions. Any time I have emailed him after that he responds quickly; I don’t have to wait a day or two.

This whole training has made me feel like I can do this job! When I first started I was worried that I would never learn the job, but I felt very supported through the whole process.

Jared exemplifies the qualities of reliability and dependability, which both encompass support. Through his attention to detail and collaborative nature, Jared demonstrates support regularly. I also appreciate how Jared welcomes feedback regarding improvements as a way to contribute to his and the organization’s success.

Vanessa demonstrates a strong commitment to teamwork. She readily offers assistance and expertise when needed. Her willingness to support colleagues reflects a reputation as a reliable team member.

Thank you!

it can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic. However, Penny’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!

Penny embodies trauma-informed training. She not only does it, she practices it fully. We have all seen her champion TBRI, but I have also had the opportunity to see her bringing that lens into every moment, including the compassion she shows to her colleagues. While Penny does an excellent job of teaching others about how the nervous system is affected by trauma and ways to mitigate that, what she does best of all is role model how to do it in real time. Penny is also exceptionally good at staying on top of the latest research and trends in trauma-informed care. She seeks out information and resources and then shares them generously to her colleagues. We all benefit from the footwork that Penny does behind the scenes.

A big part of what we do is related to trauma-informed care and Penny’s ability to embody this is great role modeling, in addition to what she does with her colleagues impacts the work we do with our participants, caregiver and workforce alike. Penny shows the way. Additionally, her sharing of information and resources helps make sure that our offerings remain relevant and agile, which is very important in a constantly shifting landscape.

In the long run, like I said above, Penny’s efforts make sure we aspire to be our very best and she gives us resources to help make it happen. In the end, our participants and the families and children they work with benefit directly from all the large and small ways that Penny keeps trauma-informed care in the foreground of our work.

It can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic, especially being new! However, Heather’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!


I have been impressed with Annabelle’s “can do” attitude from day one!

Annabelle has done so much for this organization and never asked for anything. She is kind to everyone she comes across, always checking on how they and their families are doing even while going through personal issues of her own. Annabelle was tasked to handle two people’s job at one point, and never complained. She only emails me when she absolutely needs help. Her personality shines bright and so do her routine good mornings.

I am amazed at her patience, kindness and professionalism.

Leah has supported me in various aspects of my work. We check in frequently during the month and exchange ideas, feedback, and information. She provides a safe and positive space to share each other’s thoughts and feelings, which allows for a connection at a fundamental human level. She provides me the resources and the liberty to explore creative solutions and is very encouraging.

I feel very supported not only professionally, but personally as well. We all have our ups and downs, but Leah has been consistently supportive. I am very grateful for the opportunity to co-create and collaborate with someone as kind and thoughtful as her.

Thank you for being who you are! 🙂

Regardless of the task at hand, Leah can always be relied upon to deliver high-quality work in a timely manner. She has earned the trust and respect of so many because of her support. I assume her approach to work is meticulousness, because she always ensures that every aspect is carefully considered and executed. This level of dedication and precision inspires confidence in me and others who rely on her support.

It can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic. However, Stephanie’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!

It can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic. However, Shelby’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!

Lisa is one of the most supportive people I have ever worked with. She has always been a cheerleader for me, even when I doubted myself. She mentored me to learn to teach RCT and believed I could do it. While we were working together she always had a kind word as well as helpful feedback. She has been an incredible listener as to my professional development as well as listening and offering suggestions for the rest of my life as well. Lisa takes the time to really listen and understand before responding, which makes me feel really heard. She also manages a great combination of validation and accountability.

As far as work, I know I can always ask Lisa a question and no matter how busy she is she will help me find the answer. She tells me where to look for the answer so that I am not dependent on her for information every time, which is super helpful! Whenever I have asked her to work on anything she is thorough, detail oriented, and quick.

Thanks for being amazing, Lisa!

Lisa extends exceptional customer service to our RCT participants and their Supervisors. She goes above and beyond to give each cohort one-on-one attention to help them feel seen, heard, and valued. When they share a concern, Lisa works hard to address it and find a solution that works for everyone.

Ultimately this promotes the value of support because Lisa’s RCT participants know that they can go to her for questions, concerns, and any additional support they might need. She sets them off on a good foot with her expertise and years of experience she draws on to help them understand the range of complexity they will encounter.

Lisa role models to her peers and others how to treat each RCT participant with respect and holding them in the good grace of knowing they want to do their best. Anyone who shadows Lisa can see the impact her way of being has on the participants. They also frequently reach out after RCT is over to tell Lisa how much they appreciated all she had to offer.

It can be challenging to admit when we don’t have all the answers in the training environment or feel uncertain about a particular topic. However, Linda’s willingness to step up and offer assistance in leading ICW policy training, despite any reservations, speaks volumes about her character and commitment to helping others. It shows that she prioritizes providing support and guidance, even if it means acknowledging limitations.

Thank you!

Miriam consistently displays a positive and friendly attitude. She remains calm and composed, even in challenging situations when people make mistakes or tons of changes on class requests.

Miriam understands the importance of maintaining a professional demeanor while also being approachable and personable.

Shannon demonstrates a strong commitment to teamwork. She actively collaborates with others, readily offering their assistance and expertise whenever needed.

Her willingness to go above and beyond to support colleagues speaks volumes about her ability and desire to remove obstacles in order to enhance practice AND deep commitment to improving the lives of individuals and communities through support offered to DCYF staff.

Maribel has always shown consideration to others, looking for opportunities to share knowledge, provide assistance and give opportunities to model and demonstrate.

In addition, Maribel does this all with kindness and validation, never making others feel anything other than fully capable and high achieving.

Thank you, Maribel!

Mike demonstrates a strong commitment to teamwork. He actively collaborates with others, readily offering assistance and expertise whenever needed. His desire to support colleagues does not go unnoticed and is appreciated throughout the Alliance.

Respect — July 2023

Carol has been an active participant in the effort to spread awareness of tribal lands and honoring tribal sovereignty. She communicates transparently, thoughtfully, and respectfully. She is very open to give and receive feedback to improve our practice. On many occasions, she has pointed out our areas of improvement and is not afraid to speak on our lack of action and accountability. I appreciate her very much! 🙂

I have been so impressed with Reecey’s work as she continues to take on new challenges in her role. So many of the items in this definition fit her! What really stands out in the definition of respect is “Fostering Positive Partnerships with Stakeholders.” She has really worked hard to have clear and responsive communication with RCT attendees, supervisors, and the RCT facilitators. Her job entails sooooo many details, and if she ever misses something or didn’t know something she is quick to take accountability and fix it. She is open to feedback and suggestions. She follows our internal policies carefully and meets all her timelines. Thanks for being awesome, Reecey!

Ms. Ausema works hard every day to treat her colleagues, learners, and the work we all do with respect. Recently, she has worked with our HR director to develop and present a model for giving feedback to direct reports and other colleagues. On this project, she consulted with colleagues to incorporate elements that resonate with them and to honor their existing knowledge and styles. She openly treated respect as a pillar of these feedback conversations, ensuring that strategies were in place for making sure that those receiving feedback felt respected, that those being asked to adopt the model felt that their experience was respected, and articulating how these feedback conversations demonstrate respect for the work we do and the impact it has on communities. This is just one recent example of how Ms. Ausema has demonstrated our value of respect in her work.

By ensuring respectful constructive feedback is given to all staff, Ms. Ausema has elevated the ability of the Alliance improve the effectiveness of our trainings and the experience learners have with them. It is only through a well-designed feedback loop that staff members can grow and improve the quality of their work.

Effective feedback is one of the best tools available for improving the quality of our products. People cannot change behavior or improve skills that they do not know to be lacking.

Holly led two sessions of Caregiver Yoga as a special event for the Alliance CaRES program. She took such great care to show respect for each person’s level and abilities. As the host of this event, I participated in the yoga myself, I have done many different types of yoga and this was the first time I’ve heard someone take the care to offer so many alternative and gently guidance. Fostering positive partnerships with stakeholders by offering a safe supportive environment for caregivers to step outside their caregiver role and practice self-care. Two responses in the chat box from caregivers: “you know when we are raising littles, we don’t often take the time for ourselves.” “thank you SO much for this today <3”

Caregivers are the heart of the foster care system. By providing caregivers with extra supports in areas above training to offer them emotional and personal support we are helping the children in their care.

Mr. Bundi takes great care to show respect to his direct reports and other colleagues in his communications, even when conversations can get tense. It is also very important to him to produce high-quality instructional content that shows respect for the existing competencies of learners and the challenges they face in their work and/or caregiving environments. Balancing high expectations with adequate support for your team can be one of the greatest challenges for supervisors, but Mr. Bundi is always careful to hold both of these considerations in high esteem and work to fill gaps in either area when needed. As a recent example, Mr. Bundi received substantive feedback related to cultural perceptions of imagery and terminology on an eLearning developed by one of his team members. He provided high-quality feedback to the team member in an accessible way to help them improve on future projects, by pointing out the specific concerns that arose and providing multiple resources for support on future projects, including opportunities to review with other staff members as well as technological tools that could assist. He then collaborated with the inclusive practice team and provided significant direct hands-on support to make revisions to the learning product that dramatically improved the relevance of cultural references, and thereby hugely improving the quality of the learning product and the respect it conveyed to and about the cultures it was discussing.

Mr. Bundi’s work to improve the cultural relevance of this eLearning and provide feedback to improve the cultural relevance of future products is directly aligned with the Alliance’s mission to support the provision of anti-racist and culturally-relevant services.

In particular, Mr. Bundi’s commitment to giving constructive feedback to his team and addressing the barriers and challenges they express, both on this project and in general, makes a big difference in improving the quality of our future development of learning materials.

I often find myself thinking “Wow! Charina is GOOD at this job!” And, of course, she is – but I also think that her thoughtfulness toward respectful communication with colleagues shows her kindness and openness as a human. If someone asked me “Is there anyone that you work with who commits to remaining curious as to motivations that underly actions?” Charina would be the first person who comes to mind. The way that she communicates is so respectful and thoughtful, but also incredibly genuine. She is specific in her communication in a way that helps meetings and conversations to be productive, which I believe speaks to being a thoughtful steward of the resource of time. I have attended two of the Lunch and Learns that Charina has lead and the way that she facilitates is also incredibly respectful – slowing down, letting everyone speak and process if they would like, making everyone feel valued. I am very grateful to have her as a colleague.

The way that Charina interacts with colleagues and the way that she facilitates is in complete alignment with providing anti-racist, culturally relevant, trauma-informed service. We are all coming from different places and have different levels of knowledge, and being able to speak to each person with the same amount of respect and understanding shows support of the Alliance mission.

Every time I describe my job to anyone I know I say “And we have these values and we actually…DO them!” Time and time again I have seen organizations talk a good talk with their values, but so rarely do I see organizations take them to heart and consciously work toward living in them. Day-to-day interactions can make or break an organization’s health. Just one bad interaction can really sour a relationship or a team. (Of course, we all have bad days – they are allowed!) To have someone like Charina in leadership sets an example of how we should all be interacting with each other, which is a huge asset to the Alliance.

Throughout the past two and half years, Christa has built connections first with the statewide caregiver community and then focused on the Western Washington community. Even in the midst of the pandemic, Christa listened to stakeholders, built trust, and was able to create connections with caregivers and partner organizations. Those years of listening and building trust have resulted many special events like the Queer Caregiver Connection, Caregiver + Kids Craft and Connect, and the much loved park playdates. Furthermore, Christa has continued to help the CaRES program pivot to meet the ever-changing needs of caregivers through thoughtful collaboration, deep respect for the various talents and skills in the organization, and mindfulness of the opportunities and limitations of our budget.

The community and special events are a direct result of Christa’s commitment to fostering partnership with stakeholders, being responsive and transparent in communication, and affirming diverse cultural norms and values. Christa also consistently demonstrates an appreciation for the talents, skills, and perspectives of her teammates, stakeholders, and caregivers. As a result, she has been able to expand the community options while being a thoughtful steward of our resources.

In both the short and long term, staff who operate with a deeply embedded value for respect makes The Alliance better. Christa has been a valuable sounding board within CaRES and a trusted partner for our stakeholders. In the short term, it contributes to rapid iterations of services. In the long term, it contributes to a program that genuinely meets the needs of caregivers.

Stephanie is so great at grounding a conversation in humanity and respect. She is able to direct discussions to solve a problem while recognizing the people and their unique perspectives in any situation. She never loses sight of that, even when the issue may be creating additional unwanted impacts. She has a solid grasp of both the big picture and the details, which enables her to come up with effective solutions that are more likely to succeed. This too demonstrates respect in that it saves emotional labor down the line. Stephanie also demonstrates a lot of transparency around the work she is doing. She is the first to role model when she is trying to be more inclusive in her language and actions. She honors both what is hard about the work and why it’s worth it.

Stephanie is walking the walk already, role modeling to peers and others how to engage with others. She advocates effectively for caregivers and workers alike. She also never loses sight of the impact to the families and especially the children we serve. All of her work is grounded in their lived reality. This supports the Alliance’s mission through the value of being grounded in trauma-informed perspectives as well. Her background in TBRI enables her to support our work around trauma informed care in powerfully articulate ways.

Ultimately, people can *feel* Stephanie’s respect for everyone. They know it is not conditional and translates across groups, situations, and individuals. It’s never the result of favoritism. Stephanie knows how to create felt-safety and this is what is needed to further the goals of this organization. She’s transparent, honest, respectful, and authentic. She is a model for us all.

Shelby led a special session of CaRES Kids + Caregiver Story & Activity Hour: “Join us for a story and a free activity to celebrate identity and self-acceptance, with books that focus on the experience of African American youth!”


She’s building respect for cultural identities and helping caregivers respect the heritage and identities of the children in their care. Shelby was very vulnerable in sharing herself with the children at storytime. By letting them glimpse into her life they were able to see their own.

There is nothing more respectful to me than opening oneself up for the benefit of others.

Cossette’s work to move forward the Alliance conversation around accessibility shows a high level of respect for our community.

Cossette has shown commitment to ensuring the work of the Alliance preserves the dignity of all parties and communities we work with, and affirms diverse cultural norms and values. The work around accessibility fits so well with the Alliance’s mission of providing “innovative and accessible training and supports.”

Cossette is currently leading a workgroup of colleagues in conversations around accessibility and consistently gives feedback and is open to receiving it in the interest of creating positive change.

Cossette is an example that leadership is happening everywhere!

Mike has been an example of the multitude of ways the Alliance defines “respect.”


He is a positive presence across partnerships and is constantly encouraging and supportive in his communications with both colleagues and external partners.

Mike’s interest in this work obviously goes beyond just his professional position. He clearly embodies an interest in learning about those around him and honoring their work and perspective.

Mike is a wonderful addition to the Alliance team!

Mike took the initiative in our book club on Moral Distress and Injury to contact the author of the book and invite him to our book club to share his background and reasons for doing the work and research leading to the book.

Mike went above and beyond, especially showing the respect of the entire Alliance, when the author had to postpone participation due to a family emergency.

Mike embodies the best of what the Alliance is toward stakeholders and community members.

Inclusivity — April 2023

Shana has helped create an environment that is accessible by making sure any media created for the CaRES team is reflective of all participants including graphics that support inclusivity. She sets the pace for welcoming all and fostering a sense of belonging through her outgoing, welcoming personality. She thinks through situations quickly and can turn a less than positive situation or phrase into a positive statement or action that is reaffirming to all involved. She creates a safe environment in conversations she leads or is part of to honor the diversity and inclusivity of all.

Shana serves on several of the Alliance committees/groups as part of her efforts to support the Alliance’s mission. She shares the knowledge she learns with her team and models the behavior of the mission during her work practice and interactions with those she comes into contact with.

Having examples like Shana who represent mission, values, goals and vision for the Alliance strengthens people’s interest in the value being modeled and elicits positive affirmations, support as it strengthens community and working partnerships.

Stacy held a meeting to discuss the development of a statewide scheduling system, and process mapping. In her presentation, she emphasized the importance of creating systems that will meet everyone’s needs and was also sensitive to the Alliance assessing what those needs might be by being inclusive and asking questions.

Stacy is a natural leader and her approach to this work is inspiring. We are lucky to have her!

Luanne has modelled inclusivity in the way that she values the knowledge and expertise of foster and kinship caregivers. She takes the time to ensure that she is getting the benefit of their experience by going to ALL the 1624 caregiver meetings across the state and following all the Facebook pages for various caregiver groups throughout the state in order to hear directly the issues that caregivers are bringing up. She uses the information she gathers to inform her recommendations for CaRES offerings and practices. Luanne is not required to attend all these meetings but she wants to be sure she keeps her finger on the pulse of what caregivers are experiencing so she can help meet their needs.

Because Luanne spends so much energy and time listening to foster and kin caregivers she is readily able to create trainings, and offer support to meet the needs of caregivers. She is also able to notice trends in caregiver needs that we can report back to DCYF to help influence practice and policy.

Penny goes out of her way to make new people feel welcome. She included me in a book group, took the time to get to know me, and offered me lots of help, suggestions, and support. This kind of welcome is truly how a colleague can “foster a sense of belonging.”

Penny also works tirelessly in service of children and families who have experience trauma. She is an absolute champion for TRBI because she is so committed to trauma informed practices in service of folks who have experienced trauma. Penny has organized book groups related to trauma and anti-racism. She truly understands the value of lived experience and is using her strengths to make the our community a better place.

Her work empowers those caring for and serving families and communities to provide anti-racist, culturally relevant, trauma-informed service.

Penny is continually engaging in opportunities that will increase her knowledge and understanding of trauma-informed care; parent-child support; brain science, and more! Not only does she engage in these opportunities for herself, but she never fails to pass the information and opportunities along to her teammates and colleagues. She is an inspiring example of the lifelong student for those she works and learns with, and can get anyone excited about “brain stuff.”

Penny should give a master class on networking! She maintains and acquires relationships across programs and organizations – opening doors of partnership that keep us all connected and open-minded about life outside of our “bubbles.” Penny finds seeds of partnership and contribution in places others may overlook, and she cultivates that growth and potential. Collaboration is inclusive is nature and Penny is always seeking the knowledge, expertise and experience of others.

If you’ve seen Penny in action, you know what it looks like to be “seen, heard and valued.”

Leah provides thoughtful leadership and guidance so her team and especially new supervisors can improve and sustain great learning and accessibility experiences.

It helps our learning organization keep a high standard of quality across all our offerings.

Shelby has been a tremendous supporter of several CaRES initiatives from innovation to development and into implimentation. Specifically, she championed and joined our African-American caregiver workgroup. She then volunteer to read the stories for our special Caregiver Story and Activity Hour that celebrates black authors and stories. Her commitment to helping our team expand and improve our diverse offerings goes above and beyond collaboration – it is true partnership!

Shelby’s engagement with the CaRES committee fostered a sense of belonging among the various Alliance and partner organization participants. Her respect for the other perspectives in the workgroup and her willingness to help CaRES staff determine the next best steps demonstrated her desire to create an accessible, welcoming, and diverse environment.

Shelby’s contribution led directly to an new special event theme and, in the long-term, helped establish the framework CaRES can use to continue creating and implementing welcoming, diverse, and engaging caregiver events.

Renee Siers embodies inclusion and acceptance. She makes those around her feel special, cared about, and loved. Renee would go out of her way to make others feel valued and important.

She models inclusion and support to make our product the best it can be.