From foster kid to foster care worker

News | February 12, 2015

Chris Barnett spent a significant portion of his childhood in an extremely abusive home setting.

As he grew into his teen years, he entered the foster care system, living with two different families from age 14 to 18.

“I credit that time for where I am today,” said Chris, who will be the first speaker in a series of Sunday morning adult learning sessions about the mission organizations St. Paul supports. Chris works for Iowa KidsNet, which is a network that supports foster families. Family Resources and Lutheran Services of Iowa are two of the organizations involved.

Iowa KidsNet was established in 2006, a statewide collaboration of agencies working to create safe, permanent connections between children and families through foster care, adoption, and reunification with birth families.

The mission of Iowa KidsNet is to recruit and retain stable, nurturing, and diverse foster and adoptive families to keep children safe from further trauma and assist them in their transition to permanency. The vision is that every child deserves a safe, loving, and supportive family.

Chris is a supervisor with Iowa KidsNet. He and his wife have served as foster parents to more than 30 kids, mostly teenagers.

He’s been in the human services field for nearly three decades.

“I do this work in large part because of my experience as a child,” he said. “The need is great.”

Chris will be presenting at St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Luther Loft, 10:45-11:30 a.m. Other speakers include:

  • March 1: Nicole Cisne Durbin, director of SafePath Survivor Resources, the domestic violence and sexual assault services of Family Resources
  • March 8: Sandi Burrichter, development director, Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter
  • March 15: Pat Herath, founder of Wells 4 Wellness, an organization committed to providing safe, clean drinking water to communities in Niger, Africa.

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