OSU-Cascades alumna Jessica Mose works to connect foster children with extended family members.
When Jessica Mose talks about finding one caring relative who will be there for a kid in foster care, her faces lights up.
“The single most identified factor for positive outcomes for children is meaningful connection to family,” she said.
Jessica is the family find coordinator at CASA of Central Oregon. Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASAs) are community volunteers who provide support to children in foster care and advocate for the child’s best interests in court.
Using public records, databases, social media and other resources, Jessica pieces together a family tree to connect a child in foster care with relatives. She reaches out to family members and asks them to send letters and photos to the child. Eventually she sets up a meeting to connect the youth and family. The goal is to find at least one family member who can be a lifetime support person for the child. That support can range from letters to phone calls to outings to providing a home.
Jessica began working with foster families at an early age. She attended Redmond High School and babysat for a neighbor who opened her home to foster children with high needs.
“Experiencing that gave me a heart for kids in foster care,” said Jessica.
It was while Jessica worked at a Montessori school that she confirmed her interest in advancing her career in social services. She enrolled at Central Oregon Community College with plans to continue to Oregon State University — Cascades to earn a bachelor’s degree in human development and family sciences.
At OSU-Cascades she joined the research team of assistant professor Brianne Kothari whose interest areas include child welfare, family relationships and intervention programs. Jessica worked on an existing study focused on siblings in foster care. She was also a leader in the student research club and helped establish the first annual research symposium event at OSU-Cascades.
For her internship, Jessica was placed at CASA of Central Oregon and worked as advocate for children in foster care and with the Family Finding program. When the family find coordinator position opened, she took it.
Now, Jessica helps families connect on a daily basis. When kids learn about extended family they gain a sense of identity and belonging. Jessica is out there, seeking the one caring adult who will support a kid through life — and she's making a lasting impact on Central Oregon children.
Learn more about becoming a CASA advocate for children in foster care.