JCICS 2009 Board Members
The 2009 Joint Council Board of Directors is composed of thirteen members.
Rick Gibson, Chair
Rick Gibson earned his BA in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1988. After living in the woods for years, teaching environmental education and counseling boys in a long-term therapy center, Mr. Gibson moved to Minneapolis, MN. In Minneapolis, he counseled grade school children for a number of years then earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Gibson began work in adoption at Children’s Home Society & Family Services as a social worker in 1999 and is currently an Adoption Supervisor responsible for Outreach and Intake for all CHSFS adoption programming.
Susan Cox, Vice-Chair
Susan Soon-keum Cox is the Vice-President of Public Policy & External Affairs at Holt International. Ms. Soon-keum Cox is a nationally recognized expert on international adoption and child welfare and has testified before several Congressional Committees on those issues. She has been involved in the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption process since it began in the late 1980s and is a member of the Special Commission on the Hague Convention at the Hague. Ms. Soon-keum Cox served on the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid for USAID and was a member of the first White House Commission on Asian Pacific Islanders. She was appointed by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to be the U.S. spokesperson for intercountry adoption during the 1988 Olympics and founded the International Gathering of Korean Adoptees.
Jared Rolsky, Treasurer
Jared Rolsky has been the Director of Golden Cradle Adoption Services in Cherry Hill, NJ since 1997. He has been involved with domestic and international adoptions since the early 1980's and has worked to make adoption an accessible and client driven service. Prior to coming to Golden Cradle, Mr. Rolsky was Executive Director or Jewish Family Service of New Haven, CT. There, he expanded the adoption program to include adoptions from South America and Eastern Europe. He has been associated with Council on Accreditation since the mid-1980's and is currently a team leader for COA. Mr. Rolsky was President of the Council of Family Service Agencies of Connecticut, Treasurer of the United Way Executives of CT, board member of the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies and currently Membership Chair and webmaster for the Delaware Valley Adoption Council. He chaired the JCICS Ethics Committee that was charged with the recent Standards of Practice Statement.
Kristine Altwies, Secretary
Kristine Altwies has been working in the field of international adoption and child and family services as the Executive Director of Hawaii International Child since 1991. Although initially educated in art history and education, her interest in adoption lead Kristine to complete a masters degree in counseling psychology. Kristine has spent time as a volunteer domestic violence, sex abuse, and marital counselor; has served on a number of non profit boards, and is working on a masters degree in business administration with a nonprofit focus. Kristine has been an active member of Joint Council since 1994, serving on various committees including Education, Ethics, and the China, and Kazakhstan caucuses. Kristine has one birth daughter, and is eagerly anticipating a daughter from China.
Electrified by the images of Romanian children suffering in orphanages, Linda Brownlee was moved to change her career and join in the mission to make children’s lives better through humanitarian aid and adoption opportunities. Educated in social work and through her experience as an adoptive parent, Linda established a non-profit licensed child placing agency and traveled to Romania. She has held previous Board of Director positions with organizations, including Resolve (long-term planning) and her church (liaison to school). Linda currently serves as co-chair for Joint Council’s Vietnam caucus, as a Hague evaluator, and as the Executive Director of the Adoption Center of Washington.
Nancy Fox has been involved in international adoptions for more than 30 years as the Executive Director of Americans for International Aid and Adoption (AIAA), one of the founding members of Joint Council. Previously having served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Board, Ms. Fox is strongly committed to professionalism and good practice in the field of international adoption. Over the years, she has been a birth, foster, and adoptive parent and, recently, an adoptive grandparent. She supports a strong spirit of cooperation between the placing and direct services agencies, adoptive and adoptee groups and medical experts. Ms. Fox believes that she can bring to the Board and the Membership of JCICS experience, vision, and a passion for the concept that children in need of families, anywhere in the world, must be the principle focus of our efforts.
Dana Ernest Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana E. Johnson is Professor of Pediatrics, member of Division of Neonatology and Founder of the International Adoption Clinic at the University of Minnesota which is one of the largest adoption-related medical programs in the world. Over the past twenty-three years, information gathered through this clinic on the medical status of children adopted from dozens of countries and a wide variety of living conditions has helped establish the field of adoption medicine. His research focuses on the short- and long-term effects of early deprivation on child health and early development. Dr. Johnson is an adoptive parent, serves on the Editorial Boards of Adoption Quarterly and Adoptive Families Magazine and is a Senior Research Fellow in the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
Richard Pearlman was elected to the Board in 2006. He is founder of the Family Resource Center (FRC), a Chicago based Illinois licensed child welfare agency since 1987. During his tenure as FRC's Executive Director, Family Resource Center has participated in more than 2,500 adoptions. Mr. Pearlman was first introduced to the field of child welfare as a student intern with a small Quaker college, Friends World College as he lived and worked with street children in Bogota, Colombia. Mr. Pearlman has traveled to Guatemala, China, Ukraine and Russia. Mr. Pearlman is the father of three children, one of whom is adopted.
Kathy Carney Sacco
Kathy Sacco is a licensed clinical social worker with Family & Children's Agency, Inc., who helps facilitate Korean adoptions. She was adopted from Korea at the age of 5 with her biological sister. She has advocated for adoptees and adoptive families by presenting at conferences, testifying before the US Congress, serving on the Boards of adoption support groups and traveling to Korea. Her interests include post-adoption services and clinical and ethical standards of adoption practice.
Since completing his first adoption in 2001, Paul Singer has committed himself to raising public awareness of how adoption can provide a safe home and loving family to the millions of orphans in the world, and supporting organizations that are helping these orphans while waiting to be adopted. While serving as CIO of Target Corporation, Mr. Singer founded the Target Adoption Network, a networking group for Target team members who have experienced adoption or are interested in learning more about adoption. He later started a similar program at Minneapolis-based SuperValu, where he currently serves as CIO.
Mr. Singer also serves as the President/CEO of The Global Orphan Care Foundation, an organization formed by a group of concerned businessmen who had adopted children internationally and were struck by the magnitude of the problems facing all the children they had to leave behind. He and his wife are the proud parents of five daughters.
Keith M. Wallace is founder and CEO of Families Thru International Adoption, Inc. (FTIA). Mr. Wallace is an attorney and a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. FTIA is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services, Inc. (COA) and Hague Accredited. Mr. Wallace has served on several Joint Council on International Children Services (JCICS) committees and other nonprofit boards. Mr. Wallace served as Joint Council Treasurer in 2004. Mr. Wallace has presented hundreds of seminars on different aspects of international adoption to various audiences. FTIA is active in many aid projects for children. Mr. Wallace was a recipient of an Angels in Adoption award by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) in 2005.
Abby Hayo has been volunteering as the Romania Mission Coordinator for the Medical Missions Foundation for almost a decade. Ms. Hayo has also traveled on many MMF trips to Guatemala, Panama, Uzbekistan, The Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cuba and Mail, Africa. Every year Medical Missions treats hundreds of children at their clinics for various problems including cleft lip/palates, burns, orthopedic problems and strabismus. Their missions also include working with local physicians and burn prevention programs.
Most recently, Ms. Hayo was the "facilitator" in bringing a 7 year old boy, Boi, from Mali to Kansas City for the removal of a very large facial tumor.
She has been on the boards of Smile Again, Special Additions Association, the Children's Mercy Hospital, and Junior League of Kansas City. She is married, and has two adopted children.
Stephanie Mitchell is the Executive Director at MAPS Worldwide. She oversees all aspects of MAPS Worldwide’s services including: Infant Mental Health Residential Programs; Family Shelter Programs for homeless mothers and their children; inter-country and domestic adoption programs; and humanitarian aid programs.
Ms. Mitchell is a licensed clinical social worker with an extensive background in international child welfare and children’s services. Her humanitarian aid travels with MAPS have taken her to China, Guatemala, India, Nepal and Russia.