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Staff Spotlight - Mockia “Nikki” Shelton

Mockia “Nikki” Shelton is one of our family resource development specialists (FRDS) located in St. Louis. Self-described as the “extrovert of the office”, Nikki loves social gatherings and speaking about her passion of working with children and families (and talking in general). We asked her a few questions about the work that she does and the reasons she does it.

What is your background in the behavioral healthcare field?    
I worked for St. Louis City Children’s Division for the past 10 years as a foster care case manager. As a children service worker III, I worked with many diverse populations, specialized cases and led the Circuit in working a case from the beginning to the potential end by using the Signs of Safety Model. As of April 2019, I became employed with Cornerstones of Care.

What drew you into the profession?   
My passion to work with children and families is what drew me to the field and the rewarding experiences and flexibility is what kept me for so long. I recently obtained my MSW and I am currently studying to take the LMSW exam. Over the past year, my passion grew in the areas of trauma-informed care for children and children with mental health concerns. 

What do you do in your role at Cornerstones of Care? 
As an FRDS, I work with foster parents to get them licensed and remain in compliance with the state’s policies to care for children who are in the custody of the state. In this role, I train foster parents and help them to understand what’s expected of them. I serve as a support and advocate to them. I’m responsible for meeting with them in person and ensuring that supports are in place to enhance their experience.

What keeps you going when it gets difficult?   
I often reflect back on the lives I’ve touched and the impact being made by my drive and ambition to learn all that I can to better help the clients we serve. When I think of the goodness that comes from helping children and the ultimate feeling I get when I hear the success stories or see clients trying, it gives me hope and encouragement to continue on being an influential change agent. Another benefit is the office environment in which I work; knowing that I have a supportive supervisor and team definitely helps.

Can you share a specific success story from your time working with children and families?   
It was recently brought to my attention that one of my parents was experiencing great difficulty with a case manager of two children that were placed with her and her husband. I was able to offer guidance and support to the foster parents and help them advocate for what they needed. Having previously served as a case manager for 10 years, I was also able to help the case manager see and identify the stressors from the foster parents’ perspective and how important it was for everyone to be heard so that a compromise could be reached. The parents were able to confidently ask for what they needed to support the children, and say no to extra obligations without feeling guilty, all while being an active professional team member.

What are some ways that people in St. Louis can help you all with the work that you’re doing?     
There is always a need for foster parents! People in St. Louis can take action and step up to help out by getting trained and educated on what it takes to care for children in foster care.

Learn more about treatment foster care, what it entails and how to get involved.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current job openings!