Children have been at the heart of Joan’s career since she began working in early childhood education and her interest quickly intersected with social work. For the past 30 years, she has worked with children and families in both rural and urban settings, including 23 years in Anchorage, Alaska. Initially, Joan focused her career on domestic violence at a time when this issue was emerging at the forefront of social services. When Alaska opened its first shelter for battered women and their children, she collaborated with community stakeholders to create a children’s advocacy program. Later, Joan worked for Alaska’s Child Protective Services, where she became an integral part of the adoption preparation training for caregivers.
Her later career included private practice adoption consultation and services, Head Start center management, and teaching early childhood education classes at the community college level. Currently, her professional focus has expanded to adult education. As a foster parent trainer, her teaching style integrates her social work experiences with the philosophy of experiential learning, making learning active, critically reflective and personally meaningful. Her professional interests remain concentrated on child abuse and neglect and the subsequent impact of trauma on child development. In addition, she is interested in the role that home, school and community play in the resiliency of children growing up in violent families. Creating effective curriculum and useful teaching tools for caregivers and early childhood educators is an on-going professional goal.