A Personal Journey to a Career of Supporting Families
By Kat Baysmore, Lead Parent Partner, Olive Crest
My name is Katherine Baysmore, but my friends, peers and clients call me Kat. I have three amazing children. My youngest has special needs, and I can say he has taught me the most about advocacy, patience and understanding needs without spoken words.
Working with at-risk youth is my passion. I have been with Olive Crest since 2001, but have been serving others since the age of 19. I began my journey with Olive Crest working in the Dual Diagnosis Residential Program. While working in group home, I experienced the greatness of changing lives. Then, in 2013, a fellow group home coworker told me about how great and rewarding Wraparound was because the process not only changes the lives of the youth but also the family. She also said she thought I would be a great Parent Partner. I had my reservations because I've always worked with the youth rather than the parent, but I realized that helping the family as whole could be a great opportunity for me. Working in a group home, one of the things I struggled with most, was helping change the life of a youth, only to have them go back to the same environment. With some reservations, I applied for to be a Parent Partner.
I started working as a Parent Partner in June 2013 and quickly realized that I was serving the youth in the biggest way because I was working alongside the parent and the family in their journey—assisting, rebuilding relationships and restoring hope. In 2018, I became a Lead Parent Partner. The role has been so rewarding for me. I still serve families (which is where my greatest passion lies), but now I get to build relationships with other Parent Partners. As their peer and coach, together we brainstorm ways to add value to their role and relationships with their families.
Working for Olive Crest Wraparound, has truly been one of the most rewarding things in my life. Throughout this journey, I've had the great opportunity to be trained in curriculums like Bridges Over Poverty, Triple P parenting and TBRI, which have expanded my knowledge in meeting families where they are and adding value to my lived life experience, which plays a big part in how I relate to families and their struggles. Working alongside parents and seeing the change they create with our team’s support has proven to be successful in many ways.
Our program offers a three-day Wraparound training to new staff, and I assist in facilitating that training and have the honor of bringing past parents that have successfully completed the WRAP process. These parents are from different referral populations with different experiences of the Wrap process. During the training, my parents are able to train staff in what I feel is the most effective way: telling their story, sharing their honest likes and dislikes about the process, and how Wrap supported them in stabilizing their family and restoring hope. The training consists of a full day learning the theory of Wraparound, foundation, 10 principles, phases and key elements. The next two days are spent practicing the process with our valued stakeholders at the table. Staff have an opportunity to learn from real families who had success and value the process just as much as we do. The leadership team also spends time debriefing after the training to get feedback from the staff and suggestions for continued quality and fidelity improvement.