Posted: November 30, 2020
By: Kris Demers, Prevent Child Abuse NC Communications Manager
In the Prevention Action Network (PAN) Member Spotlight monthly series, hear from Prevent Child Abuse NC’s (PCANC) PAN members, learn about their work, and what inspires them and their partnership with PCANC to help build safe, stable, nurturing environments in North Carolina!
For our third PAN Member Spotlight, we introduce Myca Jeter, Foster Care Director at Access Family Services. Jeter has worked in child welfare for over 17 years and can’t remember a time without Pinwheels for Prevention, child abuse prevention walks and awareness activities, or dedicating her work to improving the lives of NC’s children and families! Get to know more about her below!
How does Access Family Services support children and families in North Carolina?
Access Family Services provides mental health services primarily to children and families across North Carolina. We provide therapeutic foster care services in Asheville, Elizabeth City, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Gastonia, New Bern, Wilmington, and Raleigh-Durham.
We serve local families through community-based out-patient and office-based out-patient services, enhanced in-home services, family-centered treatment, and an Autism line of services. In different sites, we also provide medication management and therapeutic foster care. There are some pilots in different areas where we also provide some school-based services.
Our role in preventing child maltreatment is significant. Access Family Services partners with local Divisions of Social Services across the state to work with families that are struggling. In particular, our intensive in-home services program and Family Centered Treatments work to prevent child maltreatment by going into homes and working with family dynamics to improve communication and coping skills, as well as targeting treatment related to trauma.
Science tells us that Connections Matter, especially now. PCANC trained eight Access Family Services staff in the Connections Matter curriculum in February 2020. Tell us about your work with Connections Matter.
Access Family Services has taken on Connections Matter NC, an initiative of Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC), and it just fits seamlessly with the work we’re doing as a part of our mission to improve the lives of children and families across the state. We have hosted at least four Connections Matter NC sessions for our foster parents across the state.
November is National Adoption Month. How does this relate to your work and what do you want the community to know?
November is National Adoption Month and it is a reminder that there are children in our society who are in need of forever homes. As a foster care providing agency, Access Family Services works tirelessly to help children find homes that allow them the opportunity to feel safe, to be nurtured and to thrive!
In NC, all adults are mandatory reporters of child maltreatment. However, we’ve been encouraged to start thinking of ourselves as “mandated supporters” instead. How can the community become “mandated supporters” and help prevent children from ever entering foster care?
Being a “mandated reporter” is challenging in some regards, but if you hear about a child that is in danger or is experiencing things that are not healthy or safe for them, share that information with local authorities. It could save lives.
To me, the new idea of being a “mandated supporter” is just about making sure that you’re paying attention. In our current COVID-19 reality with everyone feeling so isolated due to the current increased numbers of the virus across the state and the nation, people are struggling. The stresses of daily life, financial stress, and worry in general are all increasing across the spectrum. People must remember to be connected, to reach out to each other. Pay attention to what’s going on around you – not only in your immediate family or in your immediate neighborhood but when you’re in your community at large, it’s important because we all have to take care of each other.
How can we increase support for parents and caregivers during these challenging times?
Sharing your own struggles with parenting and being transparent about what has been easy and what hasn’t been so easy is helpful to others in rearing children. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has come to light, being transparent has helped my immediate circle and PTA friends. Being vulnerable, being honest, and reminding yourselves and others to be patient and kind (to yourself, too) is an important piece of supporting those around you and yourself.
THE PREVENTION ACTION NETWORK