Staff in Action: Karina Mateos

Karina Mateos is one of the amazing staff members here at AFS. She recently joined the agency as the Office Manager for the AFS Sonoma County office in Santa Rosa.

Staff in Action: Karina Mateos

Karina Mateos is one of the amazing staff members here at AFS. She recently joined the agency as the Office Manager for the AFS Sonoma County office in Santa Rosa.

Get To Know Karina

What are your main responsibilities at AFS?

As Office Manager, my main responsibility at AFS is to ensure that my whole office is up to date with all things happening in our community, with our clients and families. I have the key role of assisting anyone who calls into the office for general questions, but also in need of being directed towards all other members of my office. I am in charge of locking in all information about our clients and families and ensuring that we are always up to date with this information. As office manager, it is my responsibility to ensure that as a team we are all connected through strong communication so that we can provide the best support for our clients and families.  

Why did you choose to work at AFS?

Because I am a Psychology major, this was a great opportunity for me to indulge in to gain experience within my field in various aspects. I have always had a passion for helping others in any way that I can. Working with AFS gives me the opportunity to lend a hand where there is a need for more support, not only for the people in my team, but for the families that are with our agency. AFS is a great agency that provides fostering, foster-to-adopt, and mental health services. Given my educational background and experience, I believe that I can be of great service to this agency and vice-versa.  

What are the three best things about your job?

One best thing about my job is that I am trained to be knowledgeable in the various departments within our agency so that I can assist any of the members within our team when they are in need. Another best thing about my job is that I get to work with amazing, intelligent, hardworking individuals who also have the same ambition and desire to help others. One last best thing about my job is that I get to build strong relationships with the clients and families that we work with.

What are some common misconceptions about foster care you would like to address?

One common misconception about foster care that I would like to address is that single-household parents or LGBTQ parents are commonly rejected from fostering, or fostering-to-adopt. It is a societal misconception that a family outside of the traditional is frowned upon. At an agency like AFS we welcome and encourage all families to become foster parents because there is always a great need for more loving and caring families for our children.

Another common misconception I would like to address is the belief that foster parents do not receive enough support when wanting to become foster parents or after adopting. Our offices work endlessly to create effective trainings that can be applied within the families so that they can form strong bonds with their children. Alternative Family Services offers various trainings, events, and classes that set up foster parents for success within their journey before and after fostering. Not to mention, we host various events monthly for the whole family to come out and socialize with our team and other families. In these events we have a lot of prizes, raffles, and free supplies available for our families and clients.

What’s one piece of advice you would provide to someone just starting out in a similar role?

One piece of advice I would provide to someone just starting out in a similar role is to not be afraid of entering such a busy, fast-paced, and sometimes quite hectic environment. The people that work within this field are always so kind and driven to assist you through any challenges you might come across. Our teams are always strong and united, so that you will never feel like you are alone within your position. We all unite for the greater purpose of assisting and supporting our foster children. “Team work makes the Dream work!”

Education Background

Karina earned an Associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Science from Santa Rosa Junior College. She also attended the University of Idaho, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Professional Background

Karina has experience working with vulnerable populations. She has previously worked as a Residential Treatment Specialist and classroom Leader. Karina was also employed by the United States Postal Service in the past, where she learned skills essential to perform office work.

“I am certain that Karina will grow her career with AFS in the time to come,” says Samuel Cruz, M.A., Assistant Program Director, Resource Family Approver at Alternative Family Services. 

Careers at AFS 

If you’re interested in joining Karina here at AFS, we invite you to consider the following employment opportunities: 

AFS is a vibrant community, a rich tapestry comprised of diverse staff, foster, adoptive, and biological families, volunteers and community partners who have been helping foster children and youth since 1978. We celebrate diversity, equal opportunity and excellence.  

AFS employs about 230 staff members from more than 12 countries, with education ranging from high school graduates to PhDs to provide a wide range of foster, adoption, mental health and transition-aged youth services in English and Spanish. 

Interested in making a difference in the lives of foster children, youth and families? Consider joining the AFS team today! We are currently seeking positions across northern California. To learn more and to apply, head here. 


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Alternative Family Services

Alternative Family Services (AFS) provides thoughtful, informed foster care, adoption and mental health services throughout California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento region. Since 1978, the mission of AFS has been – and continues to be – to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety and well-being in communities through foster care, adoption and mental health services.

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