“It was like a lightbulb just turned on. Something within me just knew this is where I needed to be.”
Are you considering becoming a Resource Parent (formerly called foster parent) or a Professional Parent? Learn more about this life-changing journey and what the process to becoming a professional parent is like from our most recent foster care Professional Parent, Lupe Chapa Green.
What is a Professional Parent?
A Professional Parent is someone who offers support to youth during critical transitioning times in their lives. There are two types of Professional Parenting programs at Uplift Family Services: Placement Support Services (PSS) and Uplift Wraparound. Each of these programs is designed to connect with youth while helping them transition to a permanent family connection.
Both programs operate under the concept that every youth and young adult needs family and that family is key to success. However, each program has a slightly different approach to delivering success. PSS is short-term (upwards of 60 days) and focuses on stabilizing youth of any age before joining a family. Uplift Wraparound is a longer bridge, spanning up to 6 months, and serves youth ages 13-20 who need higher levels of care.
Meet the Newest Professional Parent at Uplift Family Services
Lupe Chapa Green has worked in the field of psychology for nearly two decades, specifically in behavioral health services for youth. She worked with the Gilroy, California Transitional Age Youth (TAY) program for Community Solutions before taking a year off to move abroad with her new husband. After a while, though, something was tugging at her to come back to her home. Little did she know that this small seed was about to sprout into something beautiful in her life. It was planted early, and, for Lupe and her father, the story of foster care was a personal one.
Lupe’s father and two of her uncles went through the San Jose foster care program in the late ’60s, moving from home to home throughout his childhood. This gave him first-hand insight into foster care and a personal connection with helping the youth and young adults in its care. He knew what it was like to drift from one home to the next and the importance of family for a developing youth. He also knew the immense need for supportive families within the foster care program in California.
When Lupe was a teenager, her father told her that one day they were going to open a foster home together and care for all the kids in foster care who need it. Nothing more was said, no deep discussions were ever had, but the conviction in his voice made sure the idea was firmly placed in Lupe’s mind.
Lupe returned to California and, after a little web research, found Uplift Family Services (which was known as EMQ FamiliesFirst at the time) and applied for a position with the Therapeutic Behavioral Services program (TBS). She says it was divine intervention that brought her to Uplift Family Services because, almost as if by fate, Lupe would hear about another program within the organization that was in need. She was introduced to the foster care and professional parenting programs and, as she tells it, “it was like a lightbulb just turned on.” Memories of her father and his desire to open a foster care home came rushing back. She knew she needed to learn more.
In early 2019, Lupe took the first step. She met with Resource Family Recruiter Fina Muñoz and Clinical Director Kevin Burnside to discuss where to begin and express her passion for working with teens. Once the training began, Lupe said she knew, without a doubt, that this was where she needed to be, despite not having any biological children of her own. At first, calling herself a Professional Parent felt like a misnomer. However, her strengths in behavioral and mental health combined with Uplift Family Services’ training made her the right fit to provide short-term support for youth.
Overall, Uplift staff were clear and forthcoming with what steps would be involved when Lupe sat down to begin her application. The application process started with a lot of paperwork, but, luckily for Lupe, Uplift recently moved to a completely online system near the end of 2019, which made the process more efficient. She also lives a long distance from an Uplift office, so the online option reduced the hassle of applying in-person.
What Are the Hopes and Goals of Being a Professional Parent?
Lupe’s number one goal is to grow and learn in every aspect of being a caregiver, whether it be spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. She hopes to provide change for the youth. And do it in a one-on-one setting, without worrying about anything else, and provide the love and nurturing that they need to truly thrive in this world today.
Finally, connecting with the youth and forming a bond with the family to complete the cycle and reintroduce the importance of a strong family unit as the foundation of growth is a hope of hers with every youth in her care.
At the end of the day, it boils down to one thing for Lupe. As she puts it, “I thank God for the opportunity to be a light in someone’s life.”
Advice for Others Interested in Becoming Resource/Foster Parents
“Never have expectations, have a patient heart, and be flexible with change.” According to Lupe, humans are unpredictable as it is, let alone in such a monumental time of transition. It’s important to keep an open mind and above all, trust the process.
Lupe points out that nothing can compare to the experience of being an actual parent. You can have all the training, the schooling, and experience in the field, but the experience of being a parent is always changing and always new. However, it’s an opportunity to grow and that shouldn’t discourage anyone from becoming a foster parent or Professional Parent, regardless of having biological children of their own.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Professional Parent or Resource Parent?
Professional Parents are offered a generous stipend for their time and work and receive specialized training, weekly support meetings, 24-hour crisis support, and flexible respite time for self-care. Uplift Family Services proudly operates under a “no eject, no reject” policy for any youth, making our Professional Parents an integral part of the successful transition of youth in the foster care system. We are able to implement this policy by fully supporting our Professional Parents to ensure a healthy and successful partnership between parent and youth is maintained.