BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - In part one of Fostering Louisiana, we heard from two women who grew up in foster care. In part two, we heard about the three main initiatives the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is undergoing for the foster care system.
Now, we hear more about what inspires people to dedicate their life to this field of work.
"The needs of the department were great. The list was long of things that we needed to do. We faced years of budget cuts and reduction in staff. It was really starting to show in our outcomes and our turnover of staff," Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare in the Department of Children and Family Services Rhenda Hodnett said.
The budget challenges could not keep her away, though.
"I've been in this career almost 30 years and, I can't imagine doing anything else," Hodnett said.
Those who work in this field know how important their line of work is for the kids in foster care.
"One thing that I try desperately to share with others who are working with the agency or serving our foster youth, is that our actions have the ability to dictate perceived worth and value to the children that we're serving," Louisiana foster care case worker Leanna McCrea said.
McCrea knows first-hand why her job is important. She spent five years in foster care in Washington State. Her own experience drives her passion for the field.
"All of a sudden one day I found myself as a foster care case worker and I felt like I had come full circle," McCrea said. "I can't not share my story because it is what motivates me. It is what makes me care."
Both McCrea and Hodnett said the job comes with challenges, but they said they wouldn't trade it for the world.
"It's a challenging job. It comes with great responsibility we take very seriously, but it's the most rewarding job," Hodnett said.