In the Ohio Northern Treatment Foster Care Program it has always been a common thread that family reunification is one of the most difficult and challenging permanency goals our TC’s face on their caseloads. Many of the problems in the reunification process arise in the interactions between family members and the corresponding county agency they are working with to get their children back. In many cases, the trust between the family and the county has been lost. Because the family is acting on emotions and the county agency is acting on bureaucracy; it becomes more important to the county as to what task can be marked off “the list” and for the family it can be an emotional rollercoaster of pain with nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. Our program knows what it takes to get the family invested, getting the objectives marked off the counties “list” and becoming a successful family unit that they so desperately yearn to be again. Trust and emotional support need to be achieved initially or everything else will flounder. The family needs to know that there in someone on their side, rooting for them, giving them the skills they need to overcome all barriers and that the skills and abilities that they are actually getting will outlast the county agency itself.
Cleveland has had the privilege to work with a TC for the past 6 years that has embraced our Re-Ed philosophies as well has been able to reunify more families because she believes that “Trust is Essential,” not only for our children, but for the family as a whole. Brandi Berry is one of the most passionate TC’s that has come to Pressley Ridge. What is so valued about her by her colleague’s and superior’s is that she never gives up and will do all that it takes to get a family back together as a successful, functioning entity. She knows it takes a village to raise a child but she knows that it starts initially with trust. In Cleveland, we have seen Brandi reunify many children and never once do you see hesitance in gaining a trusting/ nurturing relationship with them. She is the first to contact a biological family member and the first to go out and meet and greet with a smile on her face.
Brandi has gone over and beyond in helping family’s gain the competence they need to become a family unit again. At one time, Brandi reunited 3 treatment level children with their mother who was overcoming addiction, needed mental health wrap services, needed housing, family therapy, all while needing a job that would support her and 3 children before the county would reunite them. Brandi was able to work with the mother and all 3 children as well as assist mother in every objective to meet her goal of obtaining custody of her children. Ms. Berry has assisted many challenges and many challenging families, but only because she exemplifies what it means to give someone the “Trust that is Essential” in their relationship with her, to accept that with positive change there can be positive outcomes. Ms. Berry is an asset to Pressley Ridge, she not only embraces Pressley Ridge’s values and mission but she actually works the Re-Ed principals into her daily routine. She shows us that Re-Ed is living within all of us, no matter what the circumstances, we can all be educated and empowered and we can all make a difference in our own life as well as the lives of others. Thank you Brandi for being an inspiration to all, especially to the family and children we serve!