Joel Bauer joined Youth Law Center in 2022 as the QPO Data Analyst. Joel comes from St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development where he works as a Database Administrator. With his 10 years at St. David’s Center, he has managed multiple roles emphasizing data creation and management. Joel brings expertise in problem-solving through difficult solutions, a technical background, and previous experience working with QPI MN.
Kate Rickord, MA, LP joined the Youth Law Center in 2022 as the Quality Parenting Outreach (QPO) Lead. Kate is a founding leader and current Director of the Quality Parenting Initiative efforts that began in Minnesota in 2017, and has helped to lead MN through QPI policy and practice changes. Kate enjoys collaborating and creating partnerships to support the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Kate is a Master’s level Minnesota Licensed Psychologist with advanced training in research-based parenting modalities and evidenced-based trauma practices. Her child welfare experience began in 2004 and includes both direct work and leadership in an intensive parenting program for mothers, therapeutic services for children and their families, and supporting foster families licensed through a community-based agency. Kate is co-owner of Resiliency and Health Institute, a small collaborative practice that seeks to build resilience and restore well-being through therapeutic services. Kate’s clinical work focuses on somatic experiencing, attachment, trauma & abuse (child & adult), and parenting.
Nicole’s QPI Why
Nicole Holt joined the Quality Parenting Initiative team in 2021 after working alongside the QPI efforts in Riverside County, California since 2018. Nicole and her husband, Skyler, have fostered children since 2016 and have mentored biological families, youth and resource families alike. Nicole plays an active role within her community as an advocate for at-risk youth and in 2018 founded EmpowerED, a nonprofit focused on bridging the gap in child welfare by empowering and educating community partners to best support, encourage and advocate for the wellbeing of all families. Prior to her work with QPI, Nicole owned and operated a stress management and wellness business that served her community educational workshops and conferences.
Diane Stang joined the QPI team in 2021 as a Champion Group Leader after working over 23 years in Child Protection for a metro county in Minnesota. Her experience includes serving as the Supervisor of the Child Foster Care and Adoption programs and as a member of the first QPI Champion cohort in MN. She also served on the MN Department of Human Services Advisory Committee on Child Foster Care Recruitment and Retention. Prior to her work in Child Protection, Diane worked for 10 years as a contract manager for vendors providing services to children and families. Diane’s focus is on excellent parenting, supporting foster parents as equal and viable partners on the child’s team, as well as encouraging foster parents to be in relationship with birth parents as role models and mentors.
Phyllis Stevens joined the Youth Law Center in 2016 to serve as a Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) Coordinator and in 2020 moved into the role of Site Support Advocate. In this role, she travels throughout the country to various sites and works with each site’s foster care program to develop a cohesive, collaborative system. Phyllis supports sites at various stages of development and works closely with the foster families at each site. Phyllis is an adoptive mom, relative caregiver and former foster mom. She is founder and Executive Director of Together as Adoptive Parents Inc., an organization that provides support, resources and advocacy for adoptive, foster and kinship families, as well as the President of the Philadelphia Resource Parents Association Inc., an advocacy Association for foster parents. Phyllis has won many awards locally and nationally for her work with children.
Phyllis’s QPI Why
Karissa Lemme joined the QPI team in 2020 as a Site Support Advocate. She works to connect with caregivers across the nation and ensures their voices are being heard. She is an active member of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP) and she networks with birth parents and caregivers to brainstorm ways to improve these co-parenting relationships. Karissa has a unique perspective based on her real-life caregiving experiences as she encourages the importance of fostering close relationships with birth parents.
Karissa’s QPI Why
Brandy Hudson works as a consultant for the Youth Law Center’s Quality Parenting Initiative, Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, and the CHAMPS Campaign to transform foster care systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive. Brandy previously worked as a technical assistance project manager for Casey Family Programs and spent five years at the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency serving in various roles, including program supervisor and special assistant. Brandy draws on her own experience as a former foster and probation youth, child welfare involved parent and licensed kinship provider, working to elevate and center the voice and expertise of those most impacted by child welfare and juvenile justice systems as leaders and designers of system transformation.
Brandy’s QPI Why
Carol Campbell Edwards joined the Youth Law Center as a consultant in 2016 after having been involved in Florida’s QPI implementation. Her work with QPI focuses on training and professional development. Carol is a licensed clinical social worker and approved supervisor in the State of Florida with 27 years of direct and administrative service. She is a faculty member and the BSW Program Director at the Florida State University College of Social Work. Carol is a national delegate for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and is the co-chair of the Florida NASW Race and Social Justice Task Force. She is a recipient of numerous teaching and professional service awards. Carol promotes the alignment of social work values and principles, with changing child welfare systems, to make life better for children and families with foster care experiences.
Carol’s QPI Why
Victoria Camper joined the Youth Law Center in 2020 and currently works in the role of Site Support Advocate. Victoria brings extensive experience as an advocate for birth parents. She has helped birth parents in Volusia County, Florida navigate the child welfare system as a Parent Partner for the last five years. She is the chairperson of a Birth Parent Advisory Board, supporting birth parents to become more involved in agency, program, and policy development. She also promotes partnerships among families by coordinating Community Cafes. She is a member of the Birth Parent National Network (BPNN), the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP), and a Substance Exposed Newborn Task Force.
Victoria’s QPI Why
Darlene Bell joined the Quality Parenting Initiative team in 2020 as a Site Support Advocate. Driven by a desire to stand in the gap for children when their biological parents need support, Darlene and her husband, Curtis, have been fostering in Minnesota for 30 years. Darlene joined the QPI movement in 2017, when she served on the core planning team to launch QPI in Minnesota. She has worked in the nonprofit field for over 30 years, with particular expertise in engaging communities of color and valuing cultural influences in the Twin Cities area. Darlene and her husband Curtis, high school sweethearts who have been married for 36 years, have fostered more than 30 children and adopted five children since they began fostering 30 years ago. They have six children and 18 grandchildren.