National Advisory Board

The Treehouse Foundation’s Advisory Board is comprised of innovative thinkers, practitioners, advocates and entrepreneurs, including foster care alums, who are dedicated to improving outcomes for children who have experienced foster care. We are deeply grateful to them for giving their passion, skills and expertise to help guide The Treehouse Foundation and the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement.

Members

Sixto Cancel

, Founder, Think of Us (a commitment of action to the Clinton Global Initiative University)

Barry Chaffkin, LCSW

, CEO, Fostering Change for Children

Lauren Frey, MSW, LICSW

, Senior Child Welfare Consultant & Managing Member, 3P Consulting, LLC

Steve Gross, MSW

, Founder and Chief Playmaker, Life is good Playmakers

Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D.

, Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Victoria J. Kelly, Psy.D., MSW, MHA

, Director, State of Delaware Division of Family Services

Mary Lebeau, MSW, LICSW

, Senior Child Welfare Consultant, 3P Consulting, LLC

Ruth G. McRoy, PhD

, Professor of Social Work, Children, Youth & Families, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

J. David Nelson

, Past President, AARP Foundation

Theresa Ng

, Founder and President, Foster Care Alumni of America, MA Chapter

Pat O'Brien, MSW

, Founder, You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption & Permanency Movement, Inc.

Richard (RD) Rohnert

, President Emeritus, Foster Care Alumni Association, MA Chapter

Kim Stevens

, Director of Advocates for Families First at North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)

Advisory Board Profiles

Sixto Cancel

Sixto Cancel

Founder
Think of Us (a commitment of action to the Clinton Global Initiative University)

The more we stand for real, living children, the better we can learn to meet their needs. Treehouse is a great example of an organization that shows the country the actions necessary to meet the needs of children.
Sixto Cancel moved through several foster homes from the time he was 11 months old. He is now a member of the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council, providing policy recommendations and youth perspective to the Administration for Children and Families for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He currently serves on the board of directors for the National Foster Care Coalition. As a Young Fellow at Jim Casey Youth Opportunity, Cancel had the opportunity to participate in national conversations on how to improve outcomes for youth aging out of foster care. He has been a guest at the White House four times and presented about foster care issues at over 20 conferences, including the Governor’s Association, Harvard Law, and the Center for Enterprise Development. As a 2012 Foster Club All Star, Cancel was invited to President Obama’s Inauguration to represent youth in foster care. Sixto is the founder of Think of Us, a commitment of action to the Clinton Global Initiative University, aimed at providing education and work opportunities to youth and foster care alumni.
Barry Chafkin

Barry Chaffkin, LCSW

CEO, Fostering Change for Children

To me, re-envisioning foster care is doing whatever it takes so that every child has a family that loves and cares for them. Treehouse Foundation is a perfect example of an organization that's trying to make sure that kids have roots. The kids have support and love, and the community understands them. I love to support what Treehouse is doing. They are doing whatever it takes to help kids in foster care.
Barry Chaffkin is CEO and co-founder for Fostering Change for Children, a non-profit organization that innovates and promotes positive change in the child welfare system. He has worked in child welfare for over 25 years, directly supervising the reunification of over 900 children with their families, as well as finalizing adoptions of over 900 children from the New York foster care system. A nationally recognized speaker and trainer, Barry was named the 2005 Adoption Activist of the Year by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City. Barry strongly believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent family and has dedicated his life to finding new and creative ways to achieve this goal.
Lauren Frey

Lauren Frey, MSW, LICSW

Senior Child Welfare Consultant
& Managing Member
3P Consulting LLC

The Treehouse Community makes a difference for children in foster care—in real time and in very real ways. REFCA gathers people, partners and programs to surround Treehouse and make an even bigger difference for more kids and more families, more quickly and more effectively. The blended Treehouse-REFCA model makes our best in child welfare even better!
Principal at 3P Consulting, Lauren is well known for developing and implementing innovative practice models and supporting organizational change in child welfare. 3P Consulting assists public and private foster care agencies in achieving timely permanency for youth of all ages. Previously as the Project Director for Permanency Services at Casey Family Services, Lauren was a key leader in developing and implementing Lifelong Families, a foster care practice model achieving permanency for treatment-level youth at risk of aging-out. A national trainer and speaker, her 35 years of child welfare experience include strategic program and practice model design, training, consultation, technical assistance, curriculum development, building collaborative teams, engaging youth and families in decision-making as well as managing, supervising and delivering front line practice.
Steve Gross

Steve Gross, MSW

Founder and Chief Playmaker
Life is good Playmakers

It is an honor to be an Advisory Board member for Treehouse. I admire the energy, effort and intelligence that is enabling this organization to create real community and help others to Re-Envision Foster Care in America.
Steve Gross is the Founder and Chief Playmaker of the Life is good Playmakers, a 501(c)(3) public charity whose vision is a world where all children grow up feeling safe, loved and joyful. In order to make this vision a reality, Playmakers partners with frontline professionals – such as teachers, social workers and child life specialists – who dedicate their lives to helping children overcome poverty, violence and illness. Steve has devoted his career to the service of our most vulnerable children. A pioneer in utilizing exuberant, joyful play to promote resiliency in children and their caregivers, and a leader in the field of psychological trauma response, Gross is committed to the healthy development of children facing the most challenging circumstances. Steve’s talents have been called upon to respond to some of the greatest catastrophes of our time, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and the 2012 Newtown school shooting. At the heart of his work, Steve helps others access their own playfulness so that they can build resilience and bring greater joy, connection, courage and creativity to their work and their lives.
Harold Grotevant

Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D.

Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology,
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Rudd Adoption Research Program at UMass Amherst, which I direct, has been a proud partner of the Treehouse Foundation and REFCA since 2009. Treehouse programs are exciting, bold, and transformative and provide opportunities to apply our latest understanding about what children need for healthy futures every single day.
Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., holds the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is the founding director of the Rudd Adoption Research Program, which connects adoption research with policy and practice through conferences, workshops, graduate and postdoctoral training, and stimulation of research activities. He also directs the Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project to examine outcomes for adopted children whose families vary in terms of contact with their birth relatives. Dr. Grotevant’s research focuses on relationships in adoptive families and on identity development and relational competence in adolescents and young adults, and has resulted in over 100 journal articles, numerous book chapters and several books. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the National Council on Family Relations; Senior Research Fellow of the Donaldson Adoption Institute; former Board President of Adoptive Families of America; and member of the Board of Directors of the North American Council on Adoptable Children. He has been honored by the College of Natural Sciences, UMass Amherst (2009), and by the Adoption Initiative of St. John’s University and Montclair State University (2012), among receiving many other research, teaching and educational leadership awards.
Mary Lebeau

Mary Lebeau, MSW, LICSW

Senior Child Welfare Consultant
3P Consulting, LLC

Mary specializes in providing intensive, on-site, collaborative consulting to public child welfare agencies to strengthen agency management, internal operations, policy, front line practice and supervision.
Mary specializes in providing intensive, on-site, collaborative consulting to public child welfare agencies to strengthen agency management, internal operations, policy, front line practice and supervision. She most recently held the position of Senior Associate with The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Child Welfare Strategy Group She is a Senior Child Welfare Consultant for 3P Consulting, LLC. Mary has worked in child welfare for 29 years, promoting excellence in supervision and non-profit foster care and adoption programming. She also develops and conducts best practice trainings and workshops and specializes in teaching social work and supervisory strategies. A seasoned supervisor herself, Mary aims to improve the permanency practice skills of social work staff and supervisors to improve permanency outcomes for vulnerable children and families, with a particular interest in older youth permanence.
Bill McGinnis

Bill McGinnis

Most of the children in the U.S. foster care system don't have the skills and confidence to become happy, well-functioning adults. The Treehouse Foundation's model gives adopted children a ‘village' to help them develop the social, academic and communication abilities they will need.
Bill McGinnis retired with over 40 years’ experience as an information systems and business strategy consultant. He has been an educator, entrepreneur, partner in an international consulting firm, and Executive Director for a non-profit which finds adoptive homes for children in the U.S. foster care system.
Ruth McRoy

Ruth G. McRoy, PhD

Professor of Social Work,
Children, Youth & Families
Boston College Graduate School
of Social Work

I am so very impressed by the contributions of the Treehouse Community to the well-being of children needing permanency through adoption. This innovative, community-based model should be replicated in other areas of the United States as a means of successfully supporting foster and adopted children and their families. I am truly honored to be serving on the Treehouse Advisory Board!
Dr. Ruth G. McRoy is the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy was a member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work faculty for 25 years and held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship. As part of the federally funded AdoptUSKids project, McRoy and her research team at the University of Texas at Austin completed two nationwide studies on barriers to adoption and factors associated with successful special needs adoptions. Currently, she is leading an evaluation team conducting a ten-year evaluation of AdoptUSKids. She serves on the Rudd Adoption Advisory Board, the Council on Social Work Education Board, and is on the Board of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston. She is a Senior Research Fellow and a member of the Donaldson Adoption Institute Board. McRoy has authored, co-authored or co-edited over 100 journal articles and book chapters and ten books on child welfare issues. Her most recent honors include the 2013 U.S. Children’s Bureau’s Adoption Excellence Award and the 2014 North American Council on Adoptable Children Child Advocate of the Year Award.
Dave Nelson

J. David Nelson

Past President
AARP Foundation

Treehouse is a classic case of 1 + 1 = 3. Or maybe 4. Or maybe more. It deals creatively and effectively with challenging issues facing our society, like affordable housing, foster children and senior isolation, among others. Create an environment, get the right people to populate it, and the rest is history. Now, how to replicate this? Big time.
Dave enjoyed a 33-year intrapreneurial career at IBM, focusing on new products, new markets, and services. He was one of the first executives in what is now known as IBM Global Services and lived in Beijing, managing IBM’s largest business unit in China from 1996 to 1998. Fourteen years ago, he retired to seek a second or “encore” career. From 2001 until 2009, Dave was the COO of The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit, international educational foundation that teaches entrepreneurship to young people from low-income communities, encouraging them to complete their high school educations.  For his work at NFTE, Dave was named a 2006 Purpose Prize Fellow, one of seventy Americans whose achievements as a social innovator in an “encore” career were recognized. Dave serves on numerous boards and committees including VaporStream, CenterLight Healthcare, the Literacy Assistance Center, Future First, and the World Affairs Forum. Most recently, he was chair of the AARP Foundation Board and a member of the board of AARP.
Theresa Ng

Theresa Ng

Founder and President
Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA)
MA Chapter

I admire the energy, effort and intelligence that enables this organization to create a genuine, thriving, positive community. This inspires others join in the movement to Re-Envision Foster Care in America.
Theresa lost her birth mother to lymphoma, was placed in the foster care system and aged out of care at age 18. She graduated from high school in 2004 while independently supporting herself. Ng helped found the FCAA, MA Chapter in December 2008, and became involved in the local community as a youth voice on the Department of Children and Families Lowell Area Board and Statewide Diversity Committee. Ng spoke at the 2009 Peds 21 Conference in Washington, DC, about providing better health care to foster youth. She was awarded for the Foster Club Outstanding Leaders award. Today she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in small business and entrepreneurship at University of Phoenix. Theresa feels blessed to be on the FCAA, MA Board and wants to ensure equal privileges and rights for all foster youth in and out of care.
The day I learned about the Treehouse Community, I was amazed to find that such a supportive community exists to help maintain the unconditional commitment that foster and adoptive parents must make to older children in our foster care system, in order for those older children to make it when they become young adults and adults. I immediately attended Treehouse’s Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America conference, and now I am so honored to be asked to serve the Treehouse Community on its Advisory Board.
Pat O’Brien founded You Gotta Believe!, The Older Child Adoption and Permanency Movement, in 1995 with a sole mission to prevent homelessness by finding moral and legal adoptive parents for teens before they age out of foster care. You Gotta Believe! is the only adoption agency in the United States that limits its practice to finding permanent parents for teens, ‘tweens, and young adults before they age out of the system. Pat manages all program operations at the agency, speaks about teen adoption across the country, and also hosts and produces the agency’s cable access television show and radio forum. He holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work. Pat has been honored for his work, receiving the Guided by Compassion Award by Urban Neighborhood Services, being named a Congressional Angel in Adoption, and receiving a 2013 Children’s Bureau Adoption Excellence Award from the Department of Health and Human Services. He is currently on sabbatical getting back to his roots of recruiting homes for teens by working as a full-time Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter (Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption) with the Klingberg Family Centers in New Britain, Connecticut.
RD Rohnert

Richard (RD) Rohnert 

President Emeritus
Foster Care Alumni of America
MA Chapter

Without Treehouse and REFCA, I never would have experienced the HEROES and Sibling Connections youth programs. The youth who participate go through a beautiful transformation.  I think it is a symbiotic relationship.
RD spent almost 18 years of his childhood in nearly 10 foster homes. Fortunately, his foster parents for the important first five years were very loving people. He enlisted in the Air Force as soon as he graduated from high school and spent the next eight years preparing for a career in computer programming, long before it was a recognized occupation. He and his wife Martha parented five foster children and adopted twins. RD was previously President of the Massachusetts Chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America and is currently in the process of becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate for at-risk children.
Kim Stevens

Kim Stevens

Director of Advocates for Families First
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)

The Treehouse Foundation is one of those rare and remarkable enterprises that identifies an issue and wields every resource – human, financial, and community – to address it head on. Building on a vision that every child can, and has a right to, thrive within a circle of support and belonging, this singular organization consistently takes noble ideas and makes them reality.
Formerly project manager for Jockey Being Family’sTM Community Champions Network project at NACAC, Kim now directs Advocates for Families First, an alliance of NACAC, Generations United, and National Foster Parent Association. She oversees advocacy efforts on a federal and state policy agenda; supports capacity building for caregiver support/advocacy organizations nationally; and manages communications efforts to elevate a positive image of kin, foster, and adoptive families and the children and youth they care for. Kim’s previous professional experience includes eight years with Massachusetts Families for Kids, where she became Co-Director. There she established the Speak Out Team, a nationally recognized model for kin/foster/adopted youth advocacy, training, and awareness-raising. She also launched the Lifelong Families for Adolescents initiative with the Massachusetts Department of Social Services and assisted in successful advocacy for post-adoption services in Massachusetts. In her 25 years of child welfare work, Kim has provided training and consultation on child welfare, foster care, adoption, parenting, positive youth development, advocacy and leadership, trauma and recovery, and youth permanency issues both nationally and internationally. She and her husband, Buddy, have six children, four of whom were adopted from the public foster care system.

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