Leadership Spotlight: Mikey Habbestad

Mikey Habbestad

Please describe your background, and what led you to EA:
I was hired as a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker on January 1, 1995. The escrow on our home in Calaveras County closed on the same day... new year, new home, new job! I was first assigned to the "Continuing Unit" (Family Maintenance, Family Reunification, Permanency Planning, Legal Guardianship) and later transferred to the "Emergency Response Unit". I was eventually promoted to Supervisor and in November of 2003 promoted to Program Manager, where my duties included not only the oversight of all of CPS but Adult Services (Adult Protective Services, In Home Supportive Services, Representative Payee and Veteran's Services) as well as Employment Services (Welfare To Work). It became challenging to manage so many programs at once - especially since many seemed to be going through serious reforms, so when I had the opportunity to go to San Joaquin County to be their Deputy Director of Children's Services in April of 2016, I jumped at the chance.

What experiences early in life contributed to your success with EA?
I was twelve and a half years of age when my little sister was born. It taught me a great deal about the awesome and sometimes overwhelming responsibility of raising children. Professionally, when I was a Program Manager with Calaveras County, the county became a fully licensed adoptions agency, so I have experience with starting that program from scratch.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working with youth in foster care?
Patience, communication and openness are keys to success in this field!

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
Watching my sixteen-year-old son play baseball. It's my Zen time!

What's a hidden talent you have, or something about yourself that would surprise most people?
I can whistle... RRRREEEEAAALLLYYY loudly!

Anything else you'd like to add?
I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with EA Family Services. I was once briefly certified as a foster parent through EA, so it's like coming home full circle :)