On May 3, 2012, Fayrouz Azer, supervisor of Lutheran Children and Family Service’s (LCFS) Bucks County Family Preservation Program, a service of Liberty Lutheran, accepted the John Thomas Bevivino Award on behalf of the family preservation unit of LCFS. Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency selects one organization to receive the award, which is given yearly in memory of John Bevivino who worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
The award was presented to Azer by Lynne Kallus-Rainey, the executive director of Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency at the annual Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency Foster Parent and Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
“It’s very humbling, and it’s an honor,” Azer said. “This award is owed to all the social workers in the program, both past and present. There are a lot of hours put into this program. Receiving this award is a really big deal to me. It shows that the county really appreciates the services we provide.”
LCFS has been providing family preservation services, including in home protective services and family reunification, in Bucks County for 16 years. Azer started as a foster care social worker with LCFS in 1993, and worked with family reunification in Philadelphia before becoming the supervisor of the Bucks County program when it was established in 1996.
“It is a very long journey for the families that we work with, and we are there with them through the ups and downs. When reunification is successful it is a very beautiful thing,” Azer said. “It is so rewarding for me to know that a family is back together.”
The LCFS family preservation program is a “strength based program,” so social workers recognize and build on a family’s strengths to help them achieve their goals. “The safety of the child always comes first,” Azer said. Azer and her social workers have received invitation to birthdays, baptisms and weddings from former clients who were so thankful to them.
“I am so grateful to be with this agency and I am so grateful for my social workers,” Azer said. “I have a great team, they deserve this recognition.”