I have always been engaged in and inspired by working together with people, children and youngsters for whom the world sometimes feels like a challenging place.
During my studies I wanted to experience what I learned.
I was working in prison facilitating visits between fathers and their children, I worked in the centre of Brussels in a youth centre to do activities together with the children and the youngsters and helped children in a community centre with their schoolwork.
The power and creativity of the children and their families to thrive and explore possibilities to handle the challenges on their path, was what struck me the most.
That was when I realized I wanted to facilitate change for families and their children, to let them experience and see their own potential, rather then offer them "help".
In 2004 I started her career in child protection in vzw Sporen, a private organization in youth care in Belgium. I worked as a social worker together with parents, children and their families, both in residential care and at home.
In 2010 I started my ongoing journey in Signs of Safety and how to take this approach with me in my work.
Later, as a trainer and coach for the workers I started to explore more and more the depth and the parallel learnings with both the children, parents, their networks and the workers. I was impressed by the transformation this could bring and by how change looked like in the face of hope.
I started to work in Youth and Welfare Agency, “Opgroeien” at Antwerp in 2016. Together with my colleagues we learn from and with each other, day by day. Supporting change together. The agency started to implement Signs of Safety since 2015. From that moment I realized that I found myself at the heart and soul of the child protection work. It hit me that until then I never fully understood the challenging work child protection workers are facing every day. It made me see how important it is to do the work together, if we want to go Upstream in Youth Care. Listening to each other, working together and sharing responsibilities is essential to achieve change for the families we work with.
In 2016 my colleagues and me went to a bootcamp of Family Finding led by Kevin Campbell in Amsterdam. Since then I have been adding the approach of Family Finding to my work and trainings. The sense of "urgency" never went away since then.
"If not now, when? If not we, who? If not here, where?" (Kevin Campbell).
For me the two approaches are going hand in hand and the combination enriches the outcome for families and children.
At the same time I started reflecting more and more about which position I wanted to be in facilitating "change" for families in Child Welfare. I discovered more about "healing" in the work of child protection, for both the family and the child. And how you can facilitate this from our perspective of a worker.
For me, learning and discovering is an ongoing process.
I enjoy to grow and learn, day by day along with everybody: children, families, colleagues and by being inspired and connected to people that are on the same journey.
This is reflected in my work both as a trainer and as a social worker.
I have a passion for bringing people together in regular network meetings and moving towards a future in which the children are safe and connected. Navigating through this process and learning from each other (children, networks, parents, professionals etc) is reflected in the training room.
Making space for Hope to reveil and letting the voice of children and their families take the lead is my main goal. I am fully aware that in our work this is an everyday challenge. It's an ongoing journey I'm taking you on and learning together with you in my trainings, my work and in coaching and supervision.