You know you’ve made lasting differences in children’s lives when they continue to seek you out for assistance or just for a visit long past discharge. This is not an uncommon occurrence for Allegheny County TFC Treatment Coordinator, Natasha Seasoltz, who has worked in both the TFC and Permanency Programs in Pittsburgh over the past 8 years. She makes such an impact that several past youth, who are now in their late teens and 20’s come to her for support during difficult times such as, loss of a family member, incarceration, or having trouble staying on their feet with a limited support system. This impact is attributed to her ability to easily form genuine therapeutic relationships, her unconditional commitment, and her focus on youth’s present ability. Natasha allows each youth to live in the moment, yet recognizes past traumas. She challenges just enough so youth can realize that future goals can be reached through today’s efforts with the support of trusted adults. Consistently Natasha becomes one of these trusted adults and she strives to establish this from day one.
Natasha’s approach varies with each youth, as she recognizes that every child is different and deserves an approach tailored to their needs and personalities. She has spent countless hours working with youth with varying mental health needs and behaviors that few find tolerable, but she is never heard complaining or stating the obvious. Instead, Natasha sees potential in each youth. She knows that every time a youth smiles or has positive behaviors, it is a success and a step towards the future. She finds ways to ensure that children have some sort of joy in their daily lives.
Natasha is often chosen as the Treatment Coordinator for our most challenging youth; always accepting with a positive attitude. When chosen to work with a re-entering, extremely complex teen, well known for her dangerous behaviors and multiple crises; her response wasn’t about hard work and long hours of on-call, but was simply, “I liked her.” Natasha in conjunction with the treatment parent managed crisis, intimidation, threats and potentially unsafe situations. Her empathy and understanding never wavered nor did her optimistic disposition. Alongside the foster parent, Natasha focused on helping this youth learn the skill of self-control in the midst of turmoil and instability.
Not only does Natasha practice the above mentioned Re-Ed principles with children, she also uses them when working with biological families. She understands the importance of a child’s connection with his or her family. The reasons youth come to us does not create any judgment on Natasha’s part, but instead she focuses on the family’s progress and their hopes. Such as the case when working with a family whose involvement with the system was long and complex; Natasha chose to encourage and support the family at their current functioning level and build upon their strengths, in the midst of other professionals convinced the family would revert into their old patterns. Natasha advocated for reunification in the face of a goal change to adoption, and, ultimately, the child was reunified with her biological family.
The bottom-line is Natasha likes kids and families, and they like her. She can take a firm stance when needed, engage families, support familial relationships, and professionally advocate in the best interests of those she works with compassion and understanding. She knows trust is essential in creating change and the diagnosis, disability, or family circumstance is just a guide to treatment not an obstacle to accomplish goals.