A Beautiful Thing

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Katie Buckley is driven by passion.

An avid lover of animals, longtime Special Olympics volunteer, advocate for accessibility and LGBTQ+ rights, and foster care specialist, Buckley is all about helping others.

Ever since Buckley was a child, her connection with her brother, who has Down syndrome, made her want to be in a helping field. Then, with the guidance of a counselor in high school, it became clear that social service would be her path.

“Hands down, the helping field and social work was for me,” Buckley said.

After graduating from college with a social science degree, Buckley started working in the child welfare field. Over five years ago, she joined the Waypoint team as a case manager and family therapist. Since then, she’s become a foster care specialist, which involves the recruitment of new families as well as rigorous staff supervision. She’s currently attending the University of New Hampshire to get her Master of Social Work degree.

Like many of her Waypoint colleagues, Buckley’s days are fluid. Some days she’s recruiting new families through statewide events like the Concord Multicultural Event. Other days she’s managing and retaining existing client families by counseling them through difficult periods or hosting working lunches with other management staff. Buckley is also always building the program, so there’s never a shortage of critical work to be done.

“Children need stability and safety in order to learn and grow,” Buckley said. “With abuse and neglect, they can’t do that.”

Families’ need for support is what makes the work Buckley and her team do so crucial. In their eyes, “All children deserve to have a safe, healthy home,” which is their ongoing source of motivation.

However, the Waypoint team frequently faces challenges because of the many misconceptions that exist about foster care. As a result, many people never consider becoming a foster parent, which means there is a high need for them.

“You don’t need to be perfect to be a perfect foster parent,” Buckley said.

“You can work, you don’t need to be married, own a home, or be a certain sexual orientation. There are many steps, classes, and a home study, but there is no ONE right way to be a foster parent. Ultimately, it’s about providing a good home to children.”

Legally, the State of New Hampshire attempts to reunify a child with their parents while the child is placed in foster care. But when Termination of Parental Rights occurs, the child is then eligible for adoption. The moment of finding the right family and watching an adoption happen drives Buckley and her team.

It’s “breathtaking, humbling, and it overwhelms me with joy. It’s just a beautiful thing.”

When an adoption is made, Buckley and her team recognize that it means more work is ahead of them to find more foster families. She encourages people to do more research about fostering children and to consider becoming foster parents themselves. There’s always a need, and it will change a child’s life forever. And, it will certainly enhance your own.

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