Alyshia Harter, a CK Family Services (CKFS) Intake Coordinator, has showcased her unwavering dedication to children in foster care for nearly a decade. While her journey into child welfare began with a simple recommendation from a college professor, it continues through her dedication to find the right match for children and families. Now four years in at CKFS, Alyshia finds ways to champion our kiddos in care, as they strive to meet their full potential.
“I’ve switched from simply empathizing, to now being part of the process to empower children in foster care,” Alyshia said.
Alyshia has always had a heart for serving others and she entered college looking for a way to do just that. At first, she envisioned herself doing ministry abroad but then she realized there were ways to make an impact at home. Following a professor’s recommendation, her journey into social work began during an internship at Child Protective Services (CPS). It was there where she first worked with children in foster care.
“I fell in love with the kids and thought I wanted to make a difference,” she said.
Flash forward to the present, as an Intake Specialist, Alyshia’s role is pivotal in helping children find families who are a good match. She coordinates with multiple entities, including OCOK, EMPOWER, and CPS, to identify suitable placements among CKFS families. Although her main responsibility is to serve as a liaison, a few personal encounters between her and the children have stayed near and dear to her heart.
In one case, a young 2-year-old girl entered foster care with severe burns to her body. Alyshia met her in the hospital covered in bandages as she tried to recover. Despite her youth, she was able to articulate herself well and early on in her process she was adopted. Sometime later, Alyshia saw the child and she was completely transformed; healed, happy, and enjoying herself in her new loving home.
“Going from seeing her in the hospital with bandages on her body, to running around playing was incredible,” Alyshia said. “I was seeing evidence of the Lord’s provision.”
Another case that inspired her was a set of siblings aged 15 and 9. The teenage girl desperately wanted to be adopted alongside her younger brother, despite hearing discouragement about finding a home that would accept them both. Determined, she wrote a heartfelt letter to the judge, advocating for their adoption as a pair. Her advocacy and steadfastness, ultimately lead to their adoption together.
“She knew very clearly what she wanted their life to look like. She showed everyone she had a voice and proved she can use it” Alyshia said.
These stories, and many more like it, inspire Alyshia daily. In her personal and professional life, she is guided by the principle, “Love everyone around me like Jesus has loved me.” While she did not end up spreading the Lord’s love overseas, she shares right here in Texas. In short, Alyshia Harter’s journey is marked by her dedication to the betterment of children’s lives, empowerment of their voices, and an unwavering commitment to love and support them as they navigate the challenging path to reaching their full potential.