Staff in Action: Alexis Salazar
Alexis Salazar, MS, LMFT, is one of the amazing staff members here at AFS. Alexis is the East Bay Mental Health Program Director here at AFS.
Get To Know Alexis
What are your main responsibilities at AFS?
Supporting day to day operations for intake, case management and risk assessment, meeting with community partners and county representatives to advocate for client needs and agency needs to help reduce obstacles to treatment for youth and families. I also spend a lot of time addressing a variety of needs related to supervision of clinical work and individual staff support to help keep lifted the hearts of the beautiful staff on the EBMH team.
What led you to work in this field?
I always had a desire to use my creativity and bring my helpful and giving nature to serve children and families since my early career as a big sister to four younger siblings as well as being a nanny for nine children by the tender age of 15. At the age of 18 I started with research-based work evaluating youth intervention programs in Southern California and that let me see a world of under-served youth
Why did you choose to work at AFS?
This was an opportunity to share my gifts and gained wisdom in a setting with other like-hearted people that share joys of the little things. Tricca interviewed me and she was just the spirit that I knew I wanted to work hard alongside!
What are the three best things about your job?
The privilege to learn about people’s stories, the heart that is at the center of the work we do for families and how it shows up in so many beautiful ways from each team member around me, and the supportive and helpful supervisor I have that I trust and feel understood by.
What are the three toughest things about your job?
Closing client cases where all options are exhausted and needs are higher than what we are designed to support with, witnessing people work hard and it still not feeling like “enough” when the system issues run so vast and deep, navigating relationships with partners (county, and other agencies) where there appear to be competing needs and not enough resources- we always get creative but not without a heavy lift from all!
What are three common misconceptions about foster care you would like to address?
One is that Resource Parents just do the work for the money, another is that only the minimum is needed and that youth in foster care “should” be grateful for what they have, lastly- that Resource Parents with old school methods just don’t get it or cannot learn a new lens to help increase adaptive behaviors from youth in their homes.
Tell us about one impactful moment you’ve had since working at AFS.
I have had so many, and they have been about the heart and spirit of those around me doing the daily work with clients and families directly. The one moment that stands out most is when a clinical supervisor and my supervisor and me all worked hard to track a client situation and make proper reports for support without alerting agencies that might make the circumstances more stressful for the client and the home (calling police). It took many hours and into the night with much consulting and a lot of tears of frustration and pain for the system that we are all trying our best to work within, but more importantly we did it together and I am forever proud of the team that I work within!
What is an interesting fact about you that others wouldn’t expect?
I had a pet goat growing up and I used to wash my clothes in a river on the best rock, but I had to get there early and watch out for my knuckles!
What’s one piece of advice you would provide to someone just starting out in a similar role?
I would say be kind to yourself, have patience with all that your brain is trying to learn, and un-learn. Being kind is important, and the response from others is delightful!