Staff in Action: Nicole Perez
Nicole Perez, Clinical Supervisor/Intensive Care Coordinator, is one of the amazing staff members here at AFS. In fact, here’s how she helped one family reunify through The Gathering Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xTbF7uA4kE
Get to Know Nicole
What are your main responsibilities at AFS?
My main responsibilities as a Clinical Supervisor are to support our clinical staff/clinicians with the work they do to directly support/serve clients. This looks like providing supervision and consultation, reviewing documents as expected by Medi-Cal, training new staff and assisting with professional development. I also engage in management meetings where programmatic decisions are made, including protocol, documentation and training needs.
What led you to work in this field?
I have always wanted to work in a helping profession and after having a difficult childhood, I wanted to be able to support kids and families the way I wish my family and I had been supported.
Why did you choose to work at AFS?
After work with juvenile justice–involved youth, where the kids were older and parents weren’t as involved, I wanted a role where I could work with kids who were younger to support in addressing and intervening sooner. I also wanted to work more closely with parents and adults in the kid’s lives.
What are the three best things about your job?
The three best things about my job would be getting to work with our wonderful team of clinicians, the manner in which my ideas and suggestions regarding feedback for our program are heard and considered by management, and getting to hear about the progress/successes of the children and families we serve.
What are the three toughest things about your job?
The three toughest things would be managing productivity, working with Medi-Cal and having to address staff/personnel issues.
Tell us about one impactful moment you’ve had since working at AFS.
One of the most impactful moments I have had of late would be during a recent CPI training where our Parent Partner and TGP Site Manager acted out a scene of an interaction with a parent who received our services. Getting to see and feel the experience of that parent was evocative and reminded me of why I came into this field and pursued work at this agency.
Please tell us about a particularly memorable success story!
About one year into working here, I was providing individual therapy to a sibling set who were placed in one of our AFS home. These siblings were eventually adopted, and I got to collaborate with their Resource Parent, AFS Caseworker and adoptive parents to support with the transition. This was my first opportunity to use the term “forever home” in my role here at AFS.
What is an interesting fact about you that others wouldn’t expect?
An interesting fact about me would be that I am afraid of clowns, masks and puppets. And also lawn gnomes.
What’s one piece of advice you would provide to someone just starting out in a similar role?
My advice would be to be kind and patient with yourself. This job and working within the child welfare system is a big learning curve. It can be difficult and frustrating to maneuver at times, but the ability to work with and advocate for the population we serve is well worth any and all feelings.