Beverly Clarke, director of the Barker Foundation’s “Project Wait No Longer,” attended the Angels in Adoption gala last Wednesday after being selected for the honor by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D).
Each member of Congress gets the chance to pick one adoption or foster care worker or parent form their district.
Clarke, herself an adoptive parent, said she doesn’t know who nominated her for the award. She was able to interact with a number of other adoptive parents, foster care parents and social workers in the field.
Clarke’s program differs from many other foster care intiatives.
She focuses on children between the age of 10 and 16, many of whom have lived in multiple homes and have behavioral and trust issues that come with such transiency.
She recently placed a 12-year-old who had been in 16 homes.
“This population of children in particular, they are an amazing group because they have an ability to overcome challenges that most of the adults that we work with can’t even imagine,” Clarke said. “I’m driven by how they try to be successful.”
Clarke has been at the nonprofit Barker Foundation since 2010. The program also trains hopeful adoptive parents, something Clarke said allows the Foundation to find better matches for older kids.
“It’s really nice to see them embrace the older kids in this population because it’s rare to have agencies emphasizing that,” Clarke said. “It’s really the great families we have that power us.”