The Utah Division of Child and Family Services named Tammy Ardohain as a Child and Family Welfare Professional of the Year. She is one of five to receive the honor this year.
One recipient of the award was named from each of five regions in the state. Ardohain was selected as the award recipient for the southeast region of the state.
Foster parents in Carbon and Emery counties like working with Ardohain. That's because she listens, helps them and cares for their children.
Many families continue to visit her in her Price office many years after their cases close.
"A caseworker must be skilled at engaging people in order to be successful," said DCFS Eastern Region Director Paul Smith. "Engaging requires genuineness, empathy and respect. Tammy has all three."
Tammy is a listener, believing that is the most important quality a caseworker can have. She's worked with foster children for nine years, starting as an intern while earning a degree in psychology and moving to a permanent job after "realizing I enjoyed working with foster children as well as foster parents."
"My best experience as a caseworker has been being able to maintain the positive relationships and contact with foster families and children even after the case has closed or the child has been released from care," she said. "I really enjoy working with the teenagers and helping them become successful."
Tammy works well with parents who have abused their children because she doesn't judge them, Smith said.
"Building a positive relationship with the family can help them become successful," Tammy added. "I don't have all the answers."
But Tammy provides support and direction for the family so that they can address difficult issues. She gathers the family, people they trust and child welfare professionals together to help each family solve its own problems.
"Eastern region is proud to have Tammy as a member of its child welfare team," Smith said.