Joel Bauer

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

Kate Rickord, MA, LP, enjoys collaborating and creating partnerships to support the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Kate is a founding leader in the Quality Parenting Initiative-Minnesota efforts that began in 2017. She 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 joined the Quality Parenting Initiative National team in 2022 as the Quality Parenting Outreach (QPO) Lead and a Champion Group Leader.

Nicole Holt

Nicole Holt

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

Diane Stang

Diane Stang joined the QPI team in 2021 as a Champion Group Leader, after she retired from working over 23 years working in Child Protection for a metro county in Minnesota. Her experience includes Supervisor of the Child Foster Care and Adoption programs, and 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 a role model and mentor. 

Phyllis Stevens

Phyllis Stevens

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

Karissa Lemme

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

Terry Harrak

Terry Harrak has more than a decade of youth advocacy, curriculum development, training and community outreach experience. She currently works on the QPI and the Just Beginning Program (JB) at the Youth Law Center. Terry supports the QPI goals by ensuring young people have a voice in the process. She works directly with QPI sites training youth and developing strategies for youth involvement. Terry manages the Just Beginning program sites nationally. Prior to her work at Youth Law Center, she served as Project Manager for Child Welfare League of America and Director of Youth Engagement for Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.

Terry’s QPI Why

Carol Edwards

Carol Edwards

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

Victoria Camper

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

Darlene Bell

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.

Darlene’s QPI Why