Skip to main content

Rebecca Cade of KidsPeace’s Foster Care and Community Programs staff received a “HELP” award from the KidsPeace Foundation in 2022. The Award recognizes an associate who demonstrates a dedication to customer service in their interactions with internal and external stakeholders.  We asked for her reflections on receiving the honor, and she noted that understanding trauma has been part of both her personal and professional journeys:

While at the time I didn’t realize it, my personal trauma journey started as a child.  At age 18 I learned that my father, the man I revered above anyone, made terrible choices that impacted everyone around him. I went from someone who felt like they could conquer the world, to someone whose personal foundation was shattered. Because of my experiences, I have continued to seek to increase my knowledge and understanding of trauma and trauma informed practices in order to help support those around me. 

When I was 18, people did not discuss the long-term effects of trauma or how to effectively cope with it, and as a result this prevented me from feeling connected to others. My roommate at the time also had a background marked by trauma and between the two of us, we struggled with problem solving and coping skills. This ultimately resulted in a fractured relationship. Through this, I became convinced that my life needed to be perfect, or people would leave me, and my trauma story grew.  

After a bit, I got married and was then told I could not have children. My world was rocked once more. My husband decided that with all we had both gone through in life we could help out kids who were struggling. He looked into foster care agencies and we applied to become foster parents. Just as we were ready to sign our contract, I found out I was pregnant. The agency had us put our application on hold until our son was born. During all this time, the effects of my childhood trauma was never discussed. 

When my son was six months old, we received our first foster teen/ baby placement – Dawn and her five-month-old daughter. Sadly, Dawn and her daughter were only with us for four months; however, we remained in Dawn’s life and as I watched Dawn grow into adulthood, the lack of long-term help for those in the “system” became even more clear. Having been a part of Dawn’s life through the years has helped me to pinpoint areas of great need when it comes to working through trauma and building resilience. 

By the time I reached my late 30s I had been a therapeutic foster parent for teen girls for over a decade. But I realized that I needed more knowledge in order to help others work through their trauma and also teach coping skills so they could be successful adults. I decided it was time to go back to school and finish my bachelor’s degree. Through the college courses, I learned how to work through my own trauma history and was given the skills needed to start me on my journey in trauma-informed care. 

After getting my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I went to work as a family resource specialist for KidsPeace, the agency that I had been working with as a foster parent for the past four years. I knew though, that I was not done helping youth, so I also became a foster parent with my local county. 

After 21 years and more than 250 kids cared for as a foster parent, I decided to make a transition and turn my focus to full-time training of foster parents and foster care staff on effective tools for working with traumatized youth. My current position as the KidsPeace Pennsylvania Training Specialist allows me to interact directly with staff and foster parents to identify their needs. In order to create trainings that both staff and foster parents can use to grow and become successful, I do intensive research into the latest information concerning trauma and effective parenting techniques. 

Going forward, my hope is to be able to continue to serve as an integral part of the education and implementation processes for trauma-informed care.  I know that the impact of trauma on a person’s life is mind-blowing. I want to help raise trauma awareness and be able to offer practical steps anyone can take to help heal. 


2022 KidsPeace Foundation/SLT Vision Awards

Each year, the KidsPeace Foundation chooses a selection of programs and individuals from among nominations by the organization’s associates to receive funding as part of its annual Award program. Awards are made in categories including Hope, Help, Healing, Volunteer Engagement, and KidsPeace Stories. 

2022 award winners include: 

Hope Category (for projects that build a feeling of optimism, hope, fulfillment or success for the people we serve): 

  • Provide Comfort Kits to children in our PA residential programming.
  • Create Survivor Scrapbooks for clients in our Sexual Issues Treatment and Education program (SITE) in Pennsylvania.
  • Establish Functional Life Skills Kitchen in Old Town Education in Maine.

Healing Category (for projects that are therapeutic, focused on our clients’ well-being and helps restore peace to the lives of the people we serve):

  • Healing One Page at a Time for the SITE program 
  • Using Virtual Reality Therapy at KidsPeace, a pilot proposed by KidsPeace’s Innovative Interventions Committee.

Volunteer Engagement Category (for a project or event that is designed to engage and educate the local community through volunteering with KidsPeace):

  • KidsPeace Independent Living Mentor Project 
  • Empowering Engagement through Protective Parenting

KidsPeace Stories Category (for an accurately and creatively presented KidsPeace story that has the potential to move its audience to want to support the work of KidsPeace):  

  • Celebrating Foster Parents – Investing in the Future, recognizing and awarding our very best foster parents annually.

Help Category (awarded to individuals who exhibit extraordinary customer service in their work)

  • Rebecca Cade, Reading (PA) Foster Care and Community Programs FCCP 
  • Alicia Eby, Pennsylvania Residential programs 

The Foundation also administers the SLT Vision Award, in which members of the KidsPeace Senior Leadership Team award a grant to an initiative in order to realize a program vision. For 2022 SLT members chose a mountain bike initiative proposed by Rob Scott of PA Residential’s recreation staff, to allow boys and girls on campus to get outside, exercise, explore, enjoy fresh air and learn an activity they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. 

Thanks to a donation from the KidsPeace North Carolina Board of Associates, a second SLT Vision Award was made to a SPIRE Reading Project proposed by Lindsae Kish and Valeria Prue of KidsPeace’s education program in Old Town, ME.  The project employs a multi-sensory approach that engages all learning styles to help young children to get on a life-long path to success and enjoyment of reading.

Each recognition carries a $2,500 award. 

“For our Trustees this is their most meaningful responsibility every year,” said KidsPeace Foundation President Ann McCauley.  “They look forward to it, contribute to it generously and enter into thoughtful and passionate discussion to determine the annual winners.  Regardless of which programs are selected for awards, the requests are eye-opening and inspiring,” she said.

(For more information, visit