Our Leadership

Recognized for its leadership and expertise in child welfare—especially adoption from foster care—NACAC’s board of directors includes adoptive, foster, and kinship care parents, child welfare professionals, adoptees and people who were in foster care, researchers, and other advocates who have a wealth of experience.

“NACAC is an introduction to innovation, progressive thinking, and forward-moving by people who are always looking for ways to do what we do better, faster, and smarter.”
–Claudia, adoptive parent and professional

Denise Goodman, PhD, ACSW, Ohio, President

Denise is an independent trainer and consultant from Ohio. Her areas of expertise are the topics of foster care and adoption. She has been a foster parent and has worked in child welfare as a childcare worker, ongoing protective worker, and coordinator of residential treatment.

Kim Brown, California, Vice President

Kim is the co-founder and president of Capital Adoptive Families Alliance that serves families who have adopted children with special needs in California. She has worked as a social worker in foster care and as a family therapist. Kim is an adoptive parent, parent group leader, and strong member of the Community Champions Network in Sacramento.

Kim Grzybowski, British Columbia, Vice President

Kim is the former adoption manager for Lalum’utul’ Snum’eem Child & Family Services where she strived to ensure that Cowichan children who were in care and couldn’t return home could move into forever homes through adoption. She has conducted research and training on the importance of cultural planning for indigenous children who are adopted.

John Ireland, California, Treasurer

John is co-founder and media director of RaiseAChild in California. He is an advocate for LGBT adoption, a former foster parent, and an adoptive parent to four children.

Pat O’Brien, MSW, New York, Secretary

Pat is executive director of Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. He an expert in finding permanent families for teens and young adults and a proponent of post-adoption services. He is the founder of You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption and Permanency Movement, and served as the organization’s executive director for its first 18 years.

Connie Bear King, South Dakota, Director

An enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Connie has worked as a consultant to many child welfare organizations and projects, including the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation, the Capacity Building Center 4 Tribes, and the National Resource Center for Tribes.

Ronya Faulkner, Tennessee, Director

Ronya is director of training and professional development for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and has worked in child welfare for 25 years.

Rowena Fong, EdD, Texas, Director

Rowena is the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a prolific scholar, researcher, author, and trainer on child welfare topics such as transracial and inter-country adoptions, positive ethnic identity formation, and racial disproportionality and disparities. She also co-directs an annual Chinese culture camp for children adopted from China and their siblings.

JaeRan Kim, PhD, Washington, Director

JaeRan is an assistant professor in the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Her research focuses on post-permanency placement stability experiences of families and the ways in which disabilities was interconnected with adoption. JaeRan, who was adopted from Korea, is actively engaged in issues related to adoptee leadership and rights.

Jarel Melendez, MBA, New York, Director

Jarel works as youth advocate coordinator at Lawyers for Children in New York City. He was adopted by his grandmother when he was 18 and is a strong advocate for children and youth who have experienced foster care.

Cathy Murphy, Ontario, Director

Cathy is the executive director of the Adoption Council of Canada and has 30 years of experience working in child welfare and social services. She is also the adoptive parent of two now young adults.

Tia Van Fleet, BSW, Alberta, Director

Tia currently supervises a team of social workers doing intervention and permanency work for children involved in child protection. Her drive to help children and teens derives from her own personal experience in foster care. She has been a leader for the New Brunswick Youth in Care Network, done advocacy work for the Adoption Council of Canada, and served on NACAC’s youth advisory team.



Our Mission

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) supports, educates, inspires, and advocates so adoptive families thrive and every child in foster care has a permanent, safe, loving family.


What We Do
Core Beliefs and Values
Board of Directors
Our Partners
Sponsorship Opportunities


North American Council
on Adoptable Children
970 Raymond Avenue
Suite 205
St. Paul, MN 55114


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The North American Council on Adoptable Children