Name: Liz Cha
Program: 34 – Vancouver
Can you explain your job title a little bit more in depth, meaning what does a BISS Specialist do?
We mainly work with the foster kids who come into our program and we help them grow up healthily. We teach them different ways to interact with others and also work on their behaviors. Some of the foster kids could have maladaptive behaviors. We help them adjust to the program, and then target different behaviors we have seen through the cases and help them develop better ways to exert the behaviors from bad to good. We help guide them and support them into becoming healthier individuals.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day would be me driving out to one of the clients’ houses, picking them up, then I’ll ask them where they would like to go, especially if it’s one of our older clients. I want to give them that freedom of choice, so I always want their input on our time together. Other times, I do plan out where I would like to take them which is usually a park or a scenic drive. If the clients are interested in art, I will bring them to a museum or art gallery. I’m always researchingnew places to bring clients to keep things fresh.
How has Covid-19 effected planning different outings and what’s the outcome of it?
The funny thing is that I got hired during Covid-19, so I do not know what it was like in the ‘before times.’ Through most of Covid, I’ve been trying to get the clients to go outside. They are stuck inside all day, and I want to get them out as much as possible. As more and more things are opening up, my researching has come back into play to make sure that we can go to new places that might have been impacted by Covid-19.
What is a normal or typical item that usually happens during your work week?
I give clients the option of what music they would like to listen to in my car as we head out to the designated spot of the client’s choosing. Or, we will just go for a drive around Vancouver. It helps get them out and about, and it’s always nice to go out to a destination. I try my best to target some of their goals during these outings.
An example of a goal that one client has is to say 10 positive things about themselves. During these drives and outings is a perfect time to reflect on those items that the client is supposed to work on. I try to engage with the clients as naturally as possible. I do my best to find out what they are interested in, what their hobbies are, and I am very upfront about if we are going to target a goal. I want them to be aware that is where I am guiding the conversation.
Sometimes the foster parents will ask me to work on a certain goal. This past week, one of the foster parents wanted me to go through one of the foster kid’s social media to make sure that they were being appropriate and having good boundaries. I also talked with the client about this as well, to make sure that we are all on the same page. After I drop the clients off, I will write up my notes and that is pretty much a typical day!
Within the last week, has there been anything uncommon or unusual that happened?
There are a couple of things that have popped up here and there that do require me to work beyond the hours that I was scheduled. Those kinds of circumstances happen, you just have to go with the flow and keeping constant communication with my supervisor and the case manager was really helpful as we navigated what happened.
How do you make sure that you are showing a deep profound respect towards the individuals that you do work with?
I always respect what the clients say. If they say that they just want to stay in the car and not go out, we will just chill in the car and do what they want to do. If they do not want me to talk to them, because that does happen also, I respect that. I let them know that I am here if they want to talk later. Sometimes we just sit or drive in silence. Giving them that freedom of choice and giving them that respect and allowing them to decide what they want to do while with me is how I show respect toward our clients.
If I could talk to any one of your clients, what are the ways that they would say that you show respect towards them and show the SA Values?
I believe they would say that I take an interest in what they say. I listen to what they need and want, which is a way of me showing that I care. Sometimes they will open up to me about how they are feeling or about their family, and I will simply listen. I will try to encourage them as well in communicating anything they might need.
During Covid-19, everyone is in the house, and relationships clash so I encourage them to communicate their needs as much as possible. I want to work with them and help them grow. I feel that they know that and want that also.