For the past six years, Tywannda Kiegler has been a comforting presence to children and families navigating Georgia’s foster care system. As a Case Manager with Lutheran Services of Georgia in Albany, she oversees the care of children in foster care and provides support and guidance to LSG’s foster parents in the Southwest Georgia region.
Tywannda began her career more than 18 years ago, working as a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom at an elementary school. There, Tywannda discovered her passion for helping children with developmental disabilities. After earning a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling, Tywannda took on roles as a children’s advocate and a support coordinator for children with developmental disabilities. Eventually she felt herself drawn toward specialized foster care and landed at LSG.
For Tywannda, her job is more than just a job, it’s a calling. She puts her whole heart into ensuring that each child receives the best possible care. Throughout her career, Tywannda has witnessed many children’s lives transformed through their time in foster care.
“Sometimes foster care is given a bad name, but it takes a special person to be a foster parent. The foster parents we work with are loving and nurturing. They provide safety and security for the child,” says Tywannda.
When Tywannda searches for a home for a child, she seeks out families she knows will go above and beyond to welcome the child in as a member of the family.
“For these children, I want a home that’s family-oriented. I look for parents that are willing to include the child on vacations,” says Tywannda. “Foster parents that will put pictures in their rooms and make their house feel like a true home for the child.”
By working so tirelessly to match each child with the right family, Tywannda has seen many children whose physical and emotional health has greatly improved under the right care. As a testament, she can share dozens of stories of children who remain connected with their foster family after they’ve returned to live with their birth parents.
“I had a little girl who was in foster for just three weeks before she was reunited with her family. She and her mother wrote a letter to the foster parent to say 'thank you' and sent a care package to the other foster children in the home,” says Tywannda. “The mom was grateful for her daughter’s time with the foster family.”
The most rewarding part of her job is seeing the smiles on a children’s faces when they are reunited with their family.
“It can be sad in a way for me because I know I won’t be seeing that child as much, but my greatest joy is to help children get back with their families. I know their parents love them, and they all want to be together.”