Name: Emmanuel Camarillo
Program: In-Home Community Services (Region 3)
Job Title: Foster Parent Recruiter
Can you explain your job title a little bit more in-depth, meaning what does a Foster Parent (FP) Recruiter do?
As recruiters, one part of our role is to host monthly Foster Parent info sessions that I do with another co-worker. During these presentations, we present a PowerPoint on how to become a foster parent and talk about the other agencies we work with. We show people the amazing opportunities that are out there to change someone’s life and be able to provide nurturing stability, and a home to call their own.
With Covid life right now, as you are most likely aware, it has been extremely challenging to get people interested in coming to our info sessions. I have been relying on online communication a lot: Facebook, LinkedIn, emails and texting. I am constantly reaching out to different organizations in the communities that I’m aware of and letting them know of the great opportunities that we have available.
What are some of your goals?
My goal is to be able to plant seeds in people’s minds about what it is and what it takes to become a foster parent. My goal right now is not to necessarily recruit as many people as I can, but to start with planting a seed in people’s minds and hearts, and for that seed to grow into their own choices and decisions. And maybe – eventually they will become new foster parents.
We have noticed is people do not really know about Service Alternatives in Region 3 (Northwest Washington). Some people and organizations do, but not to the capacity we want. There are many agencies and non-profit organizations that I have been working to get in touch with and partner with, or just to get to know each other, that can provide support once we start doing more things in person. We want to start building stronger and better relationship/partnerships with other organizations.
My other goals are to increase the number of foster parents of color, Spanish speaking foster families, and to get the LGBTQ+ foster community involved as well.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day related just to recruitment would entail sitting at the computer and conducting my own research and generating ideas, looking for organizations or new ways of thinking of how to advertise. Every day looks different. For the most part, I spend time looking for places to recruit, whether that is sending information, or finding people that we can potentially talk to who might be interested in becoming future foster parents. We are always trying to develop new ideas and new ways of keeping people engaged with the foster parent community. We work on setting up communications, and public and private events. Covid-19 has created a big challenge with hosting events, but we are hopeful that we will be able to get back to it soon.
Within the last week, has there been anything uncommon or unusual that has happened?
I would say no, but we did have our Info Night in February. It went phenomenally – it was one of our best info sessions so far. Everyone who attended was extremely engaged and asked a lot of questions throughout the event. It was held on Zoom due to Covid-19 Protocols. It is always such a positive experience when people are engaged with the topic and want to learn more about the Foster Parent community.
How do you make sure that you are showing a deep, profound respect towards the individuals that you do work with?
I think for me it is understanding that the way I do things, the way I interact, and the way that I present myself when I’m recruiting can make a difference; to make sure that I understand what I’m doing.
I always pay attention to how I treat another person. But how do I go about engaging with them in a way that shows that I’m not only a recruiter, but I’m also a person? Because ultimately that is what is going to engage someone – when people see that I’m a foster parent myself – as well as a recruiter.
One item that I’ve been trying to ensure is that we respect and work at understanding the culture aspect of all people. An example would be our work with bi-lingual individuals. Specifically, potential Spanish speaking foster parents – having materials in English and Spanish available, having recruiters that can speak in Spanish and English. Being properly equipped for our needs and wants will help us to succeed.
If I could talk to any of your clients/ Foster Parents, what are the ways that they would say that you show respect towards them and show the SA Values?
The two values that stand out to me and would stand out to others would be Community and Customer Service.
We do not get people interested in becoming foster parents unless I am out in the community making connections while also explaining the unknowns to people who are interested. Learning and working with them to help others – to help the kids. I am constantly working on different ways to incorporate new ideas, options, and avenues to anyone and everyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent. I will work on their time, on their days, communicate in ways that work best for them, and give as much assistance as I possibly can to make this as seamless as possible.