When a family becomes involved with the child welfare system, it can be difficult for them to connect with the resources they need to thrive. SaintA’s Diverse Suppliers and Providers Network acts as a bridge between our families and community resources so they can overcome barriers to success, like the lack of insurance or inaccessibility to resources.
Vice President of Child and Family Well-being Dwayne Marks and Director of Child Welfare Administrative Services Maria Andrade manage the network, with the goal of making sure our service providers mirror the demographics of the clients we serve.
“We make sure our families are comfortable. If they work with someone who speaks the same language, looks like them, or understand their background or life stories, they can feel more open when receiving the help they need,” says Andrade. “And we want to connect them with people who will continue to help them after their time [receiving services] in child welfare.”
The court gives families entering child welfare specific goals that must be met, and SaintA helps connect those clients with the organizations that will help them meet those mandates. From parenting and home management classes to supervised visitation to therapy – including family, individual, and group — the services in the network aim to set families on a path toward stability. So far, 12 out of the 24 services are minority owned or minority led, and the goal is to only grow the amount of diversity in the network.
Shared Goals, Shared Values
The Multicultural and Trauma and Addiction Treatment Center of Wisconsin (MTATCW) is the latest mental health provider to join our Network. MTATCW conducts mental health assessments, provides mental health treatment, and devises comprehensive treatment strategies to respond to client needs.
Dr. Maria Inosencia Amarante grew up in New Jersey’s third largest city and has embraced her Latino roots throughout her entire life. “When clients work with clinicians that look like them and share other similarities there is an instant connection and sense of belonging,” she says. “Having a multicultural staff allows the MTATCW to empower clients to do the work on themselves and work towards creating a life that they love. That is our goal,” says Dr. Amarante.
Dr. Amarante and her staff take a trauma informed approach to care, like SaintA. By looking through a lens of understanding and asking what happened to a client, not what’s wrong with them, ensures their physical and emotional safety, so they are willing to build a relationship with a clinician, process trauma, and leave feeling empowered. “People want to be heard and when they feel heard they feel comfortable expressing their authentic self and in that they know they are not judged, instead they are supported,” she says.
A Network that is Still Growing
In 2020, Marks and Andrade made it a priority to support diverse organizations across the city. “It’s SaintA’s responsibility to put money back into the communities our clients come from,” Marks said. This whole-community care lays a strong foundation for facilitating self-healing communities, ones where people can provide and support themselves.
Families have access to nurturing and parenting classes as well as anger management through our partner, The Parenting Network. Supervised family interactions, most often hosted by Lad Lake, Reversing the Trend and Association of Community Empowerment are the most used services in our network, but those local, small businesses and minority, female or veteran owned businesses used as vendors and suppliers are important as well.
At SaintA, we are better together. That means we are working hard to support our families and our network of local organizations that act as an extension of our values and do the work they need to help their communities thrive.
If you’re a minority owned business who also has a mission to bring stability to lives of your community, please contact Maria Andrade at Maria.Andrade@SaintA.org for more information on joining our network.