Staff in Action: Tonia Elliott
Tonia Elliott is one of the amazing staff members here at AFS. Tonia, a Caseworker out of the Vallejo office, was inspired to work with children and families and has been working at AFS for 10 years. Tonia started out as a Case Aide before transitioning to a Mental Health Rehab Specialist in the Intensive Services Foster Care program. Tonia went on to obtain her MS degree in Mental Health Counseling which led her to her current role as a Caseworker.
Get to Know Tonia
What are your main responsibilities at AFS?
I support vulnerable children and families, through advocacy, team meetings, and home visits.
What led you to work in this field?
I wanted to help children in need of support and advocacy.
Why did you choose to work at AFS?
I initially was laid off from a job and wanted to do a job working with children that was part–time. I loved working for AFS and eventually was offered a support role in the ISFC Program.
What are three best things about your job?
- Working with children.
- The relationships with my colleagues.
- The flexibility of the job. COVID-SIP I had to stay home and distance learn with my youngest child and AFS made that a reality for me.
What are some difficulties of your job?
- The difficult part of my job is hands down when I lose a child off my caseload and when colleagues I work with move on from AFS.
What are some misconceptions about foster care you would like to address?
- Foster care is actually a useful system to help children and their families get back on track with their lives.
- Foster parents and their experience offer safe places for youth to regain something that was lost within their family experiences.
Tell us about one impactful moment you’ve had since working at AFS.
The first time one of my young clients made me aware that he was aware of his Father’s passing at 4 years old. I was saddened to hear this but, in the moment, I truly saw what resilience looked like.
Please tell us about a particularly memorable AFS success story!
I have many success stories in my 10 years with AFS. Success for me is an adoption or a reunification that results in continued permanency.
What is an interesting fact about you that others wouldn’t expect?
I have three children in different stages of life. A year ago, I was blessed to have a new status as a grandmother to my grandson who is a year old this month.
What’s one piece of advice you would provide to someone just starting out in a similar role?
Self-care leads to longevity and helps to promote resilience and wellness.