FosterAdopt Connect's staff members are the biggest resource we bring to the community of foster and adoptive families. This passionate, committed, and skilled group of individuals devotes their time and talent to making a difference each day in the lives of the children and families we serve.

Lori

  • Loretta Ross is the founder, CEO and President of FosterAdopt Connect.  Lori and her husband Randy have been foster/adoptive parents since 1985.  Together they have cared for more than 400 foster children and adopted 23 ranging in age from 5 to 34. They also had five biological children along the way! Lori holds a degree in psychology, and has completed thousands of hours of additional training in issues related to the special needs of abused and neglected children. Lori has worked with the Missouri Children’s Division as a teaching foster parent for over 30 years. Her reputation within the child welfare community is an invaluable asset to the organization and has contributed to FosterAdopt Connect's effective advocacy work on behalf of Missouri's kids and families.  In addition to her work with FosterAdopt Connect, Lori has worked with the North American Council on Adoptable Children as a consultant in their Community Champions Network, providing child welfare services in the states of Texas, Colorado and Ohio. Lori also participates in numerous child welfare related task forces and boards, and currently serves as the Co Chair for the Missouri Task Force on Children’s Justice.

 Jennifer Johnson

  • Jennifer Johnson is the Chief Operating Officer at FosterAdopt Connect, a role she's held since 2010. Jennifer has been happily married for 20 years and has two beautiful girls. She graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas with a degree in psychology. She has been involved in social services since the beginning of her career including being a house parent with her husband, managing a long-term girls group home, advocating for victims of domestic violence, as well as supervising a number of residential programs. Jennifer currently supervises the foster care licensing, extreme recruitment, and older youth programs.

Leon Fisher

  • Leon Fisher is FosterAdopt Connect's Chief Financial Officer.  After graduating with his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, Leon spent 12 years living in Russia working with at-risk youth and children.  Upon returning from Russia in 2006, Leon started and ran a successful business for nine years. Eventually, Leon’s heart for children and at-risk youth led him back into the nonprofit world.  He joined FosterAdopt Connect's staff in 2014 in the Springfield location.  In 2015 Leon was asked to become the Development Director at the headquarters in Kansas City.  After becoming a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional in 2016, Leon was asked to move into the CFO position.  Leon and his husband, Vladimir, live in Kansas City.

Liz Luce 2

  • Liz Luce is the Director of Family and Permanency Programs at FosterAdopt Connect.  She has been with FAC since 2011, where she began as an Extreme Recruiter. Liz works with the supervisors of the programs she oversees to develop, implement, and assist in their growth. These programs include Extreme Recruitment, 30 Days to Family, the Behavioral Assistant, and the Behavioral Interventionist Programs in Northwest and Southwest Missouri, and Kansas.  Liz’s passion is finding permanency and adult supports for youth in, or previously in, foster care, or youth at risk of languishing in congregate care facilities.  Liz's parents fostered hundreds of children throughout her life.  She has four biological sisters and twenty one adopted siblings, and she hopes to give youth in foster care the same opportunities and family experiences that all of her biological and adopted siblings have received.  Liz has a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, nine year old Peyton and baby Mason.

Joni Hiatt 2

  • Joni Hiatt is our FosterAdopt Connect Kansas Director of Programs.  Joni and her husband Jim are lifelong residents of Olathe and have been foster parents for 22 years, fostering over 130 children. Jim and Joni have three daughters and one grandson.  In 2002, Joni volunteered as a Director on the Board of Kansas Foster & Adoptive Children Inc. (KFAC). Joni held this Director position up until serving as President of KFAC from 2005 until 2014. In April, of this year, when the organization merged with FosterAdopt Connect, Joni became the Kansas Director of Programs for FosterAdopt Connect, leaving her position in the Olathe School District where she had served for 17 years.  The Eastern Kansas office is headquartered in Olathe and houses the Resource Center for foster/adoptive families.

Kelly Soifua

  • Kelly Soifua is the Director of Youth Programs at FosterAdopt Connect. She holds a Bachelors in Human Resources and Organizational Development from Rasmussen College in Minnesota. Prior to joining our organization, she spent the last 15 years working with large preschools in our area. Serving as both director and area manager, she was able to work with many foster and adoptive families where she gained an appreciation for the impact they have on children’s lives. She has a passion for working with children and enjoys being able to make a difference for the families and children she serves.  She and her husband are the proud parents of one son and three daughters and have been married since 1986.

Lori Burns-Bucklew

  • Lori Burns-Bucklew is the Chief Advocacy Officer at FosterAdopt Connect. Employed in early 2015, she has collaborated with the agency and partnered in many projects since FosterAdopt’s infancy. She has spent her legal career advocating for children and families in child welfare.  She holds a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri Kansas City and is accredited by the National Association of Counsel for Children as a Child Welfare Law Specialist. In 2005, Lori was one of a nation-wide coalition of attorneys who sued Missouri’s Department of Social Services to preserve the rights of Missouri foster children to adoption subsidies despite the economic status of either their birth parents or their adoptive parents.  Lori and her husband Ed are happy to be the parents of Allison, a teacher, and Sean, a nurse.

Nathan Ross

  • Nathan Ross is the Youth Advocacy supervisor for FosterAdopt Connect and has a bachelor’s degree from Park University in social psychology. Nathan works with former and current foster youth on crafting their stories and advocating for positive systemic changes within the child welfare system. A former foster youth adopted at 13 years old, Nathan began using his own personal experiences when he was 18 to help resource parents and child welfare professionals better engage and support young people who have suffered from trauma. He has spent the last eight years advocating throughout the country for a system that fights against child abuse and neglect and looks forward to the day when all children who enter care find permanency in loving, supportive homes.

Heather Saaks

  • Heather Saak is the Director of Training for FosterAdopt Connect.  Heather and her husband, Rob, have been foster parents for the past 14 years and have hosted over 100 kids.  They are the proud parents of 10 adopted children and continue to foster large sibling groups to help support important lifetime connections.  Heather attended the University of Syracuse and received a bachelor of arts in psychology and went on to get her masters in higher education administration at the University of Ohio at Akron. She had been a trainer of the Stars and Spaulding foster parent trainings for 8 years prior to coming to FosterAdopt Connect, along with being a Family School Liaison for the Independence School District. Heather currently facilitates over 100 hours each month for foster and adoptive families in nearly 20 counties in our service area; she also develops additional trainings to meet the unique needs of our families and helps advocate for families when they experience difficulty navigating the fostering and adoption process. Her free time is spent supporting her kids in their many activities, coaching an U12 boy’s soccer team, and helping her sons run their own chicken farm/farm fresh egg business.

Meridith Martin

  • Meredith Martin is Assistant Programs Administrator. She has been with FosterAdopt Connect since February 2015; she started out helping kiddos at the Forever Connections Program, went on to help children at the Family Connections Intake and Assessment Shelter, joined the Licensing Team where she connected children in need with safe, loving, nurturing family homes, and moved into her most recent position in Spring 2017. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Business and Psychology in 2008 and her master’s in Public Administration in 2010 from the University of Missouri-Columbia; which is where she met her wonderful husband, Damien.  In her free time, she loves to spend time with her 3 dogs, one of which is a hospice foster dog. She also enjoys exercising with her husband, traveling, spending time with her friends and their babies, as well as visiting her family as much as possible.

  • Faye Steiner Woods is the Direct Services Manager at FosterAdopt Connect.  She has fostered several kiddos since 2012, and is now an adoptive and biological parent to 2 awesome little boys. She has 12+ years of experience in merchandising and retail management, perishable and non-perishable food cycles and systems, as well as non-profit development building. She formerly worked at FosterAdopt Connect as the Creative Communications Coordinator, where they put her fancy art skills to use.

Mike Othic

  • Mike Othic began working for FosterAdopt Connect in 2013 as a Development Assistant, where he worked with FosterAdopt Connect's Administration to write grants and communicate with donors. He is now the Grant Coordinator for the organization, and submits over $1 million in grant requests annually. Mike is also FosterAdopt Connect's unofficial videographer, and is super excited to finally make use of his bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Missouri Valley College. Mike is originally from Warrensburg, Missouri, but likes to act as though he's a Kansas City native. Mike's favorite BBQ sauce is Blue's Hog, and he highly recommends Boulevard's "The Calling."

Courtney Ryan

  • Courtney Ryan assists with fundraising, event planning, and communications as a development coordinator. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and organizational communication from William Jewell College. Courtney joined the FosterAdopt Connect team in April 2013 as a special events intern and transitioned to her current role after graduation. Her experiences with FosterAdopt Connect prompted her interest in continuing work with non-profit organizations; she also works for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City. Courtney looks forward to helping such a wonderful organization and ultimately the children and families served by FosterAdopt Connect.

Amy Guyett

  • Amy Guyett has worked for FosterAdopt Connect since January 2014 as a Director of Licensing Services.  She and her husband are former foster parents, adoptive parents and now grandparents.   Amy has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and an undergraduate degree in Family and Environmental Resources.  Prior to coming to FosterAdopt Connect she directed several large childcare centers in the Kansas City area, worked as a foster care case manager and as an Education Coordinator for Head Start.  She also implemented Conscious Discipline not only in childcare programs but also in her home.

tomp1-2

  • Tom Prudden is the Director of Investigations at FosterAdopt Connect. He was born and raised in Kansas City, MO and spent 25 years as a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department working in Patrol, Vice, Robbery, Property Crimes, Asset Forfeiture, and as the media spokesperson for the Metro Squad. He retired from the police department in September of 2012 and immediately came to work for FosterAdopt Connect where he uses his investigative skills to locate estranged family members and potential adoptive placements for at risk children in foster care. Tom and his wife, Julie, fostered for two years in the mid-nineties, and are the parents to two biological children and two internationally adopted children.

  •  Jennifer Townsend is the Recruitment Programs Supervisor for FosterAdopt Connect.  She holds bachelor's degrees in Sociology and English from Truman State University with minors in Psychology and Gender Studies. Following graduation, she began working with teenagers placed in care of the Missouri Division of Youth Services.  There she spent years implementing the "Missouri Model" and utilizing a therapeutic youth development approach to breaking the cycle of crime by helping teens meet their needs in a responsible manner within the context of and with respect for the needs of the family and community.  Prior to joining the FosterAdopt Connect team, she also worked as a Head Start Family Advocate with a focus on helping families recognize their strengths while working towards their goals.  She is an active participant in the Kansas City Competency Initiative and the KC LGBTQ community.  Jennifer married her wife Andrea in September of 2014 and they plan to begin fostering after a few years of wedded bliss.

Alecia Nolte

  • Alecia Nolte is an Extreme Recruiter at FosterAdopt Connect. She recieved her bachelor's degree in Child and Family Development at the University of Central Missouri. During her college years she worked with 2-3 year olds at a daycare; it was there that she realized how important it was for her to go into a field that improved and worked in the lives of children and youth. Alecia explored the area of adoption during her Senior year of college and fell in love. During her free time Alecia enjoys playing the cello in a string trio with her two sisters, being with family and friends, and spending time with her three little nieces.

  • Ashlynn Stiles is an Extreme Recruiter.  She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Child and Family Development from the University of Central Missouri in 2013.  Previous to FosterAdopt Connect she worked as a preschool teacher for 6 years.  She has been with FosterAdopt Connect since March 2014 and enjoys helping and advocating for families who are providing children with safe and loving homes.  Ashlynn lives with her husband Greg in Lee's Summit, MO, and is a proud mom of her 4 month old baby girl, Brynlee.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, taking walks, and attending Royals and Chiefs games.

Ashley Vance

  • Ashley Vance is the 30 Days to Family Specialist at FosterAdopt Connect. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, and holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology. She completed an internship with ALIVE STL, a domestic violence organization in St. Louis, where she worked as an advocate for domestic violence victims and their children. Ashley also worked with Crisis Line as a shelter advocate and case manager. After graduation, she joined Employment Connection, where she helped felons to re-enter society and realize their potential as productive members. Ashley found her work with the adult population educational, but her passion for helping children brought her into child welfare. She believes in helping to give children a voice, to be a motivational source of encouragement, and she strives to make a positive impact on young lives.

Tammy Spears

  • Tammy Spears is a Family Advocate at FosterAdopt Connect, where she has worked off and on since 2000.  Tammy is the foster/adoptive and birth mom of many children. She has 16 years of experience fostering elevated needs children and has become a strong advocate for children and families in the foster care system. She formerly worked as an MPACT employee, and is highly skilled at educational advocacy.

Tiffany Gensler

  • Tiffany Gensler is a Family Advocate with FosterAdopt Connect. She received a bachelor’s in Psychology from Graceland University in 2001.  Tiffany became a foster mother in 2005 and since then has provided loving home to more than 20 children.  In 2009 she became an adoptive mother to the love of her life, Grayson Lukas who is now 7 years old.  Prior to FosterAdopt Connect, Tiffany has spent much of her time working with youth and teens in various avenues including homeless pregnant teens.  Tiffany’s responsibilities include Foster/Adopt Parent and Child Advocacy, Strengthening Families, and Reactive Attachment Disorder Support Group.

Kristen Robinson

  • Kristen Robinson is Assistant Program Manager of Resource Development.  She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Health Promotion and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa in 2010 and then completed her master’s in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas in 2014.  She interned at FosterAdopt Connect for a year in 2012 and enjoyed it so much that she returned after graduating in the spring of 2014. She is newly married to her husband Keith and they live in Lee Summit, MO. They are both Iowa natives. She is a die-hard Iowa Hawkeye football fan and loves college football season! In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, biking, spending time in the outdoors, and traveling.

Kelly Cain

  • Kelly Cain is a Senior Family Development Advocate for FosterAdopt Connect. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pittsburg State University. Kelly has worked with children and families in various capacities for over 12 years. Helping to create families through adoption is her passion and she is excited to be a part of furthering FosterAdopt Connect's mission. In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping and playing with her pet rabbit, Kayja.

Brittany Brooks

  • Brittany Brooks is a Senior Family Development Advocate. She has a bachelor's degree in Social Work from the University of Central Missouri. Brittany has worked with families in different variations for the last six years. She has always had a passion for helping children and families and is excited that FosterAdopt Connect granted her that opportunity. In her free time she enjoys crafting, attending sporting events, taking trips to the lake in the summer, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Lee Bortka is a Family Development Advocate.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri in….well, eons ago!  Prior to joining FosterAdopt Connect, Lee retired after 29 years of service from the State of Missouri, Division of Youth Services where she worked as a Service Coordinator, working with at-risk youth and their families, enabling them to fulfill their needs in a responsible manner within the context of and with respect for the needs of the family and the community. With joining FosterAdopt Connect, Lee is open to new challenges in serving youth and families and excited to be a part of furthering FosterAdopt Connect’s mission.  She is thrilled to be a part of the licensing team where she will connect children in need with safe, loving, and nurturing homes.  Lee is the proud mom of two awesome kids, Riley and Maxim.  In her free time, Lee enjoys spending time with her children, traveling to visit family and friends, musical theater and plays, and creating arts and crafts.

  • Margaret (Marggie) Goodman is a Family Development Advocate. She has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Legal Studies from Missouri Western State University. Marggie began her career in the private legal sector eventually moving into the social services fields where she has worked closely with the State of Missouri’s prison population, probationers/parolees as well as working on an Assertive Community Treatment team in the field of mental health. She has 19 years combined experience of diverse social services work. Helping to focus on the reunification of children with their families while assisting children in finding their forever homes are both passions for Marggie. She is thrilled to be assisting in the ongoing effort to support FosterAdopt Connect's mission. In her free time, Marggie enjoys spending time with her children, visiting new places, cooking and going to the movies.

  • Hannah Bush is a Family Development Advocate. She started at FosterAdopt Connect as an intern in the licensing department in January of 2015. Hannah received a bachelors in social work at Missouri Western State University and was hired onto the licensing team while completing a master’s degree at the University of Kansas in social work. After receiving her degree, Hannah made the decision to leave FosterAdopt Connect for a therapist position in Kansas. Little did she know that she would miss working in such a caring, fun, and supportive environment! Less than a year later, Licensing offered her a position to come back to the team! Coming back to FosterAdopt Connect felt like coming home after a long day. Hannah is so grateful for her co-workers and loves working for FosterAdopt Connect!

  • Maggie Kaiser is a Family Development Advocate. She started at FosterAdopt Connect as a Social Worker Intern through University of Central Missouri in January of 2017. She began working as a Family Development Advocate in March of 2017 and has worked here since. Maggie graduated from University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in May of 2017 and immediately began working towards a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences.  She enjoys working at FosterAdopt Connect because she get hands on experience working with families who are trying to help children in the Foster Care System as well as expand their own family.

  • Kayenne Vermillion is a Family Development Advocate. Before this position, she worked for FosterAdopt Connect as a Behavioral Interventionist. She has a bachelor’s of science in Psychology from Truman State University. She is passionate about child welfare and being able to connect families with kids, which is why she is so excited to be a part of the Licensing Team. When she is not working, she loves obsessing over her cocker spaniel, Toby, spending time with
    friends and family, playing board games, painting, cross-stitching, canoeing, and swimming.

  • Jimmy Austin is a Behavior Interventionist Case Coordinator.  He graduated with a  bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University- Idaho.  After obtaining his degree, Jimmy began working with the State of Missouri, Division of Youth Services where he worked for nine years with at-risk youth and their families.  He worked in several capacities from a front line staff and a group leader in a residential facility to a Service Coordinator, enabling youth and families to fulfill their needs in a responsible manner within the context of the family and community.  With joining FosterAdopt Connect, Jimmy is open to challenges in serving youth and families and is excited to be a part of furthering FosterAdopt Connect’s mission.  He is thrilled to be a part of the Behavior Interventionist team.  Jimmy enjoys the outdoors and camping, spending time with his niece and nephew, and playing with his yellow lab Lilly.

Kirstie Bosworth Web

  • Kirstie Bosworth is a Behavioral Interventionist Case Coordinator at FosterAdopt Connect. Kirstie attended the University of Central Missouri where she received her bachelor’s in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. Kirstie then attended Park University where she received her master’s in Social Work. Kirstie’s passion for children brought her into child welfare and she is excited to move forward with her professional career working with foster and adopted children.

  • Angela Cindrich is a Behavioral Interventionist Case Coordinator.  She graduated with honors from Park University with a degree in Business Management/Human Resources.  Prior to joining FosterAdopt Connect, Angela worked for the Excelsior Springs School District as a Computer Lab Instructor with elementary school aged children.  She then shifted her career to work with at-risk youth at the Division of Youth Services.  She worked as a community mentor and a Service Coordinator.  Her dedication to serving youth and families led her in receiving several awards for outstanding service by the Division of Youth Services over her 7 year career.  Angela is over-the-top in love with her adorable husband and their two precious children.  Angela and her husband own a pawn shop in Claycomo, MO and in her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and shopping.

  • Jessie Greenfield is the Behavioral Interventionist Quality Assurance Coordinator. Jessie graduated from Kansas State University with her master’s in Drama Therapy and from Missouri Valley College with her bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Technical Theatre. Jessie started with FosterAdopt Connect in November of 2015 as a Behavioral Interventionist. Jessie is passionate about helping youth heal, grow, and reach their greatest potential. In her spare time, Jessie is an artist, writing songs with her guitar, performing, and playwriting. She enjoys being outside in nature, camping, and playing with any dog she comes into contact with.

  • Kandice Jackson is a Community Connections Specialist with FosterAdopt Connect's Community Connections Youth Project (CCYP).  She graduated from Paseo High School of Performing Arts in 2008, and graduated from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology in 2013. She married her high school sweetheart, Steven M. Jackson, in 2014 and they welcomed their baby boy that following April. Originally, Kandice wanted to be a lawyer, took the LSAT and received a great score. However, her heart told her that she needed to be a positive advocate for her fellow peers, and so she began her career as a social worker/case manager with FosterAdopt Connect. Kandice was placed in foster care when she was 3 years old. She and her sister were adopted when Kandice was 8 years old after living with their foster mother for four years. Kandice has never been ashamed of being in foster care or the fact that she is adopted. It actually encourages her!

  • Kei-Lisha Thomas is the Family Liaison for the FosterAdopt Family Connections Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Central Missouri and plans to obtain her master's degree. Kei-Lisha was an intern in the licensing department in 2015 and joined the FosterAdopt Connect team in September of  2016. Her previous experience includes working with youth from disadvantaged circumstances in nonprofit organizations. She is a mother of four, and she loves working with biological parents to assist families with rapid reunification.

  • Julie Crandall is our receptionist.  She has a passion for helping children, and she’s excited to be a part of the FosterAdopt Connect team.  She has a background as an administrative assistant, proofreader, and receptionist, so she brings a variety of experience to this position.  She and her husband have two daughters who were adopted as infants, and Julie enjoys sharing her adoption stories as well as hearing about others.  She loves animals, and her family has fostered and adopted many dogs and cats over the years.  Julie believes in the mission at FosterAdopt Connect and looks forward to helping you!