OhioKAN Governance Structure
Created on May 12, 2023
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ODJFS Program Manager
Veronica BurroughsODJFS Project ManagerVeronica Burroughs, LISW-S, is Project Manager for the Ohio Kinship and Adoption Navigator Program at ODJFS. Prior to this work she was with the Supreme Court of Ohio as the Court Improvement Program Analyst in the Children and Families Section. In this role she managed the federal Court Improvement Program grants to assist juvenile courts in handling cases related to child welfare. She has had multiple roles at private child serving agencies, and she started her career as a therapist working with children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Veronica is an adjunct professor at Columbus State Community College and has done training for a variety of audiences. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the DePaul University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.
Julia DonovanStatewide Program DirectorJulia joins Kinnect as the founding Program Director of OhioKAN, a new statewide kinship and adoption navigator program developed in partnership with the State of Ohio. Prior to Kinnect, Julia was the Employment Services Director at Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP), which works to advance participation and equality in society for people with disabilities in Northeast Ohio. Leading through a period of significant programmatic change and development, Julia worked to increase the effectiveness of several LEAP initiatives, resulting in measurably improved outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. Previous to her eight years of tenure at LEAP, Julia worked in the nonprofit sector managing volunteers, teaching therapeutic riding for people with disabilities, and fundraising. She holds an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s from Hiram College.
Raymond UtrupStatewide Program CoordinatorBio coming soon!
Amber RobinsonStatewide Benefits CoordinatorAmber began her career in the mental health field as a Referral and Information Specialist with Frontline Service’s Mobile Crisis Team in Cleveland. There, she was responsible for addressing crisis situations, providing information and referral services to peers, families, friends, caregivers, mental health providers, and the public. She also served as the Helpline & Volunteer Coordinator at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Cleveland, where she provided oversight, vetting, and support to volunteers within the organization. Amber is certified by NAMI to lead family support groups, has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University and is completing a master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. Amber is so excited to serve as the statewide Benefits Coordinator at OhioKAN!
Paula OliverStatewide Benefits CoordinatorPrior to OhioKAN, Paula served as a Career Coach for Jewish Family Services. There, she mentored, coached, and empowered adults with disabilities in their journey towards employment. She also spent time as an Ombudsman at The MetroHealth System advocating for patients and their families. Over the last several years, Paula has volunteered at Dress for Success and iServe for C.H.A.N.G.E. Both are nonprofits that provide education and support to various communities. Paula has a Masters in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Administration, both from Cleveland State University. She is excited to be a part of OhioKAN/Kinnect and looking forward to helping families along their journey as kinship caretakers and adoptive families.
Teresa ScrimentiStatewide Program TrainerTeresa has an eclectic background working with progressive organizations invested in giving power back to the people they serve. She has a range of customer service and teaching experiences, primarily in the disability service and culinary arts industries. Throughout her career, Teresa has developed and implemented curricula, including culinary education for home cooks, life skills classes for adults with developmental disabilities, and summer work experiences for youth in collaboration with local businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Mass Communications from Baldwin Wallace University. Teresa is so excited to be a part of OhioKAN as the Statewide Program Trainer!
Roxana BellStatewide Program CoordinatorRoxana has a breadth of experience serving children, youth, and families in clinical and educational settings. Prior to joining Kinnect, Roxana worked for the Mobile Crisis Team at FrontLine Service in Cuyahoga County, where she conducted clinical assessments to children and youth experiencing suicide crises. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in an intertribal Native school and mentor for incarcerated youth. As a transracial, transnational adoptee from El Salvador, Roxana has a passion for working with multicultural adopted, foster, and kinship populations. She earned a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s in Cultural Studies and Literature from The Evergreen State College, and is a licensed social worker. Roxana is so happy to be the Statewide Program Coordinator!
Joe SackStatewide Project ManagerJoe has previous experience as a Project Manager at Cincinnati State Community College, where he developed and implemented education and training programs through a federal grant focused on boosting participation amongst historically underrepresented communities. Before that, he was Director of Operations for Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) in Portland, Oregon. There, he managed operations of 15 mental health services staff members in eight different schools. Joe is a Board Member of Next Steps Immigrant and Refugee Services and volunteers for Vision Zero in data collection. He is also a Domestic Violence Advocate, ESL instructor, and a licensed foster parent in Ohio. Joe holds a BA in International Studies from Wright State University and an MA in International Relations from Salve Regina University. Both degrees have specializations in the Middle East, and he speaks Arabic. He is excited to build OhioKAN’s organizational infrastructure and work with an amazing group of people!
Amber PhelpsStatewide Program ManagerAmber joins Kinnect with experience in the fields of social welfare and policy, including hands-on social work and an expertise in building and implementing evidence-based programming. After attaining her master’s degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and a Juris Doctor from Western Michigan Law School, Amber worked for Cuyahoga county in the juvenile prosecutor’s office, serving as a liaison to parents of youth impacted by incarceration and the court system. Most recently, Amber served as Senior Project Manager for Lorain City Schools. She is very excited about joining the Kinnect team and expanding the OhioKAN program!
Statewide Advisory CouncilThe Statewide Advisory Council plays a critical role in developing awareness of kinship and adoptive families and building system-level capacity to support them in a consistent and equitable manner state-wide. The role of this advisory council is to advise OhioKAN on communication about critical state-wide service gaps and system barriers impacting kinship and adoptive families, as well as strategize the dissemination of this information to key stakeholders. The SAC facilitates connections and problem-solving regarding identified service gaps, system barriers, and resource needs to promote family well-being, prevent entry into foster care, and other areas that are identified to support the sustainability of the OhioKAN program. The focus on an equitable distribution of service and system supports across the state is rooted in the six key principles of Inclusion, Equity, Diversity, and Access, which include the continued analysis of historical factors; the distribution of resources and access to opportunity for families in ways that promote equity and support transformational change; ensure conditions for health, safety and economic security; and actively disrupt the perpetuation of institutional discrimination and oppression. The OhioKAN Statewide Advisory Council is a space for state-level change-agents, subject-matter experts, senior leaders, and innovative thinkers to gather, explore new ideas, and tackle systemic issues on behalf of Ohio’s kinship and adoptive families.
Regional Advisory CouncilEach Regional Advisory Council identifies existing programs and services that support kinship and adoptive families, determine how existing programs and services should be enhanced to best support the OhioKAN model, and identify service gaps and how those gaps should be addressed. Participants may include community organizations and stakeholders such as individuals with lived experience, caregivers, faith community leaders, area offices on aging, housing organizations, local nonprofits, managed care organizations and schools. RACs play a critical role in developing awareness of kinship and adoptive families and building community capacity to support them. In partnership with the OhioKAN Regional Director, the Council will help identify existing programs and services that support kinship and adoptive families. They determine how existing programs, services, and practices should be enhanced to best support the OhioKAN model. They identify service and practice gaps for kinship and adoptive families and how those gaps should be addressed. The identification of service gaps is rooted in the six key principles of Inclusion, Equity, Diversity, and Access, which include the continued analysis of historical factors; the distribution of resources and access to opportunity for families in ways that promote equity and support transformational change; ensure conditions for health; safety and economic security; and actively disrupt the perpetuation of institutional discrimination and oppression. RACs provide recommendations on behalf of the region for needed services and resources to prevent entry into foster care and any other areas that are identified to support the sustainability for the regional OhioKAN program.