My first day of work with Samaritas was July 5, 1988. I had just graduated from WMU with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. I was connected to the foster care director in Grand Rapids regarding job opportunities.
The rest is history, as they say, and 30 years later, I am still part of Samaritas Nation!
As a caseworker in voluntary foster care, I worked with children and supported parents, and foster parents in hopes that the child could move back home with their family. Children are especially precious to me and always have been; supporting families to be whole again is crucial to my personal values and also those of Samaritas.
In 1992, when Samaritas began its work in child welfare foster care, I became a Supervisor. I remember clearly the day Van Buren DHHS referred 19 children to us. It took a lot of work to learn about all of the children and families, how to support them to be better and together again.
Our teams were strong and fiercely committed to helping families improve and understood the importance of safety for children.
Now I’m the Executive Director of Foster Care. Having always served in child welfare, foster care and preservation services…I better love my work! It’s hard work every day as we support children and families who are hurt and broken at the moment. We provide a safe place to sleep every night for over 1,300 children in foster care annually and over 1,400 people in family preservation programs. Samaritas is a strong leader in Michigan in these areas and I am proud to have the opportunity to contribute to our overall mission in such a meaningful way. - Laura Mitchell, Executive Director, Foster Care