Jenna is the creator of FASD families and is also a writer, web designer, therapist, entrepreneur and the single foster/grandparent to two little boys with FASD (ages 5 and 6).
After 18 years in child welfare, Jenna left her career rather suddenly, as she was unable to work full time while managing the boys high needs and multiple service providers. Ironically, she was working for the child welfare organization that has legal guardianship of the boys who, at the time were fighting the children being assessed and diagnosed.
When the boys were 2 and 3, Jenna was facing increasing pressure both in her work and family life to conform to the agency’s expectations around caring for the boys and managing a case load of high needs children, many of whom likely also had FASD but were also largely undiagnosed and struggling. Jenna was aggressively being directed not to pursue assessments for children, not only for her boys but for children on her caseload, largely as a way of offsetting costs to the organization who would have to provide increased support and services to children in care should they be correctly diagnosed.
One afternoon in the winter of 2015, Jenna was contacted by her child care provider who asked her to pick up Aiden early as he had been screaming and crying for several days and she was worried that perhaps he was ill and not just “difficult to manage”. Jenna agreed to do so and arranged a doctor’s appointment that afternoon for Aiden however, was stopped on the way out of the office by a supervisor who asked her how she planned to make up the hour of work she’d be missing.
That, my friends, was the sound of the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. And also the sound of someone snapping.
Jenna called in sick the next day and never returned to her career as a child protection social worker. Instead, she pursued her dream of becoming a creative and multi-passionate entrepreneur and began to focus on building her online community and business. Working from home allowed her to be available for the children’s multiple appointments, assessments, and services necessary to ensuring the boys needs were met.
[PS. The boys were diagnosed with FASD three weeks after Jenna left her organization. She does not believe that the children on her caseload were as successful in getting the necessary assessments, diagnosis, and services they were entitled to.]
Although she left child welfare, Jenna remains a passionate advocate for families, and particularly those who are caring for children who have FASD. After working extensively with birth parents and foster parents, she realized there was an absence of understanding and support for both. Her particular interest in this website is in supporting all parents and caregivers as well as professionals in understanding and obtaining adequate supports to care for children with this complex brain injury. Her intent in starting this website is to connect families with supports and to encourage others to share their stories.