March is National Social Work Month – and we’re proud to highlight the important work that our social workers do across our organization each day. Since The Foundling’s beginnings, we have been pioneers in the social work field. Now, we employ social workers in nearly every department, with these essential staff working in a variety of capacities to support the children and families we serve.
We asked five of them about their work – learn about what they do at The Foundling, what inspires them, and their thoughts about their profession!
Bonnie Langer, LCSW, SIFI
Assistant Vice President
Fostering College Success Initiative
Bonnie leads our Fostering College Success Initiative program, which provides emotional, academic, and career support to New York City college students in foster care. In this role, she hopes to “support children, families, and adults with making positive changes in their lives”, and to “work towards elevating the voices of young people to ensure that they have access to the tools and resources they need to be successful.”
“I came to The Foundling in 2015 because I was passionate about working with young people and finding alternatives to incarceration,” she says. “Since my first role at The Foundling, I have been able to tap into many different areas of interest, all while enhancing both my clinical and leadership skills. The Foundling has truly allowed me to grow and expand in ways I never thought were possible.”
“I’d like to share a quote that I first came across in Graduate School,” Bonnie says. “This quote still resonates with me today and I feel it is a perfect fit for social work month. Jane Addams said, ‘The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.’”
Jessica Brockley, MSW
Socio Therapist Supervisor
Enhanced Family Foster Care
Jessica oversees a team of socio therapists who work with foster youth and families in the Bronx. Her team strives to provide the young people in our community “with tools that they can take outside of sessions with us and have for a lifetime; helping them to gain the confidence to reach their full physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual potential.
“My favorite thing about working at New York Foundling is my team,” she says. “We have created a strong unit, grounded on the framework of open communication, reliability, and support.” She is currently working toward obtaining her social work license, which she hopes will provide more knowledge and professional growth in her field.
Jessica’s advice for fellow social workers: “Never forget your “why.” Everyone that is in social work is here for a reason, and it is so easy to forget your reason when you’re managing so many unfortunate circumstances daily. Not many people could do our job, so don’t forget to be kind to yourself and acknowledge the hard work that you do.”
Kenya Bryant, MSW
Partners for Change/Deaf Services
Kenya is a Partners for Change FFT-TCM therapist in our Deaf Services program, providing case management, mediation, and family-based therapy to support communication, conflict management, and other essential skills to families that have at least one Deaf/Hard of Hearing member. These families often have unique challenges – more than 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents, often leading to numerous communication and isolation issues.
She enjoys working with her team and is passionate about making a difference in her community. “I have the privilege of working with ambitious people,” she says. “Most of us are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and we communicate in American Sign Language fluently. I appreciate their insight, wisdom, creativity, and kindness. As an Afro-Latina Deaf woman, I believe representation matters. I was told by parents that I am an inspiration for their Deaf/Hard of Hearing children. They see that their children can do anything despite hearing levels and skin colors.”
Kenya is driven to continue raising visibility through her work. “The Deaf community is still not fully recognized by society,” Kenya says. “There are limited resources for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing population in New York City. I would like to see more services and resources for the Deaf community: mental health services, community centers for Deaf/Hard of Hearing children, senior homes, LGBTQ+, and many more!”
Nancy Hanna, MA
Nancy works as a case planner in our Staten Island Foster Care department. She supports parents through the foster care process – facilitating home visits, attending court hearings, and implementing referrals to community services. “I work meticulously with the rest of the team to ensure that children and parents have the necessary support to flourish and reunite,” she says. As Nancy shares, “children in the foster system are often forgotten and neglected; I would like to believe that my small role in their journey leaves a lasting positive impact. Children look back upon their foster years with heartache, I would like to be that sliver of hope in those memories. I hope that each family in my care feels like they weren’t just another client, but people who are important and valued. Too many times children’s voices are lost, I want them to be able to think back and know that they had a voice through me.”
Her favorite quotes are:
“Speak up if you want to bring change to the world”
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Kim Ramirez, MSW
Partners for Change
Kim is a supervisor for our Partners for Change program in Brooklyn, which provides evidence-based FFT-TCM therapy and support for families facing challenges. She provides supervision and guidance to a team of five, while maintaining her own caseload of young people and families.
“I strive to develop clinicians that understand the importance of seeing youth and families from a strengths-based perspective, respecting their voices around their situations, and understanding that their role, is one of support and not “fixer,” she says. “Through my work, I’d like to expand on my vision of being a ‘change agent,’ one family at a time, ensuring that families are equipped to meet life’s challenges in a positive and productive manner, based on tried and true skills and strategies, mixed with the love and desire they have to do well in this world.” She notes that The Foundling’s organizational mission – to help young people and families reach their full potential – matches her values, skills, talents, and abilities. Kim also appreciates working for an organization that has “earned a well-deserved level of respect and recognition in the field of social work.”
Her personal goal for the new year “is to continue to strive to ‘do better’ and ‘love more.’”