Today is Donna Kasper’s last day with Children’s Home & Aid – she is retiring after 14 years with the agency.
Donna is the Foster Care Director in Rockford – and has lived the values of Children’s Home & Aid throughout her life. Donna has been working in this field for over 23 years but didn’t initially plan to work in child welfare.
Donna first began her career in this field as a foster parent after sitting down and discussing it with her children. Donna felt that she too could do the work she saw her caseworkers doing – and knew she had a lot to offer children and families. Donna went on to obtain her master’s degree and counseling degree.
During her time at Children’s Home & Aid, Donna worked to grow the child welfare programs tremendously. Donna doubled their teams’ size under Foster/Intact/Spec. It was common for Donna to go above and beyond when it came to her staff, including helping to double the size of critical Foster/Intact/Specialized teams.
“Donna’s leadership style shines through her staff’s loyalty to her and their dedication to her. She provided training opportunities, encouraged continued education, and helped staff advance within the agency,” says Amanda Whitlock, Senior Vice President of Child Welfare & Behavioral Health Services.
However, Donna also worked diligently for the cause of children and families in her personal life as well.
“Her commitment went beyond her work at Children’s Home & Aid; Donna was a longtime foster parent and trained new foster parents for over a decade,” Senior Advisor Melissa Ludington added.
Donna went on to even adopt three of the children she cared for.
“Donna has so much knowledge, not only regarding the child welfare system, but the other parts of that system—what it’s like to be a foster parent, what it was like to be a foster parent for teens, a counselor’s perspective, a trainer’s perspective, the list goes on,” Program Manager Noelle Schamberger explained.
Although Donna will be greatly missed, many of the staff who have worked with her through the years say they know this isn’t goodbye, since Donna will always be someone to reach out to and depend on.