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Career Story: Program Director Of A Statewide Family Support Agency

Program Director Of A Statewide Family Support Agency

Job Title: Program Director

Type of Company: Family support and child abuse prevention

Education: Master in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government •• BA in History, Kansas State University

Previous Experience: I worked as a home visitor, as a teacher in a youth detention facility, and as a family support advocate

Job Tasks: I manage a statewide home visiting program for for first time parents age 20 and under. I supervise a team for four staff that work directly with the local programs. They are doing contracts management, technical assistance, program implementation and other support aspects. Additionally, we develop program policies, maintain a program database, provide data reports for quality assurance and manage public relations. As a member of the senior staff of the agency, I also confer with other departments on fundraising, legislative advocacy and programs development.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is hearing directly from the participants in the program, hearing about their successes and knowing that the work I do has helped them indirectly. I don't work in a way that I encounter families regularly anymore- it's nice when I can see that planning and thinking on a statewide level really does translate into real people having better lives. I also very much enjoy talking with those who are doing direct services- they have great ideas and remind me of my former self that did their work.

The worst part of the job is realizing that the good news of prevention will never supercede the word of some horrible tragedy. It also is tough to know that until there are truly adequate resources devoted to prevention, we will continue to hear of those tragedies. And damaged people will still be created every day.

Job Tips: Learn early how to collaborate on projects - this field demands working with other similar agencies, if only to maximize limited resources. Thinking in expansive ways helps out. Work directly with the population you hope to serve/affect- if you want to "go macro" it will help you to know what it is like out there on the front lines.

Additional Thoughts: Be prepared that the rewards for this work are not financial, at least not until you have either worked in the field for many years and/or work at a macro level.

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