About our Collaborators
PACC is privileged to share the voices and wisdom of tribal and child welfare practitioners, mental health professionals, and adoptee advocates who have all been integral to the development of the sessions they lead as facilitators and guest experts. Many of these collaborators have lived experience with permanency and adoption and have shared their reflections on how centering firsthand storytellers transforms the dialogue we have as professionals around permanency here.
JaeRan Kim helped build the PACC program before joining the faculty at the University of Washington, Tacoma in the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. She is a scholar, speaker and writer, including her blog Harlow’s Monkey and is a creator of PACC’s sessions on Transracial Adoptee Identity Formation and Adult Adoptees.
"PACC is an incredible opportunity to delve deeper into the experiences of those connected to adoption - and I hope participants gain the knowledge, skills, and compassion needed to effectively work with, and advocate on behalf of, adoptees and their families. In particular, I hope participants understand adoption as a life-long experience and are equipped to help families navigate the complexities that adoptees experience."
Lisa Berry, MA is Program Manager of Child Services, Kinship and Extended Foster Care in Hennepin County and PACC Alumni. She has contributed to PACC’s session on Permanency and Adoption, as well providing structure and facilitation to the Case Consultation model.
Angela Tucker is the founder of The Adopted Life and is a filmmaker, podcaster, author, and educator whose mission is to center adoptee voices who has partnered with PACC since 2017. She is a creator and facilitator of PACC's session on Transracial Adoptee Identity Formation.
"It's essential that service providers understand that transracial adoption intersects with so many other issues in our society, especially the conjunction of race and power relations (i.e economic class, religion, nationality/citizenship). Understanding this will help to better understand the multi-faceted layers of complexity of transracial adoptees."
Andrea Brubaker, MSW, LISW is the Foster Adopt Minnesota HELP Program Manager, and PACC alumni. She is a creator and facilitator of PACC’s sessions on Attachment, Grief and Loss; Trauma and Challenging Behavior; and Adult Adoptees.
"As an adoption professional, I speak on a daily basis to myriad community members such as child welfare workers, teachers, therapists, doctors, and psychiatric and school social workers about the unique needs of this population. Among those professionals, there is a growing recognition that they require their own specific training to support the needs of these children and their families to better serve this community that touches so many."
Sandy White Hawk is founder and director of the First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI), Elder in Residence at the Indian Child Welfare Law Center in Minneapolis, MN and researcher, author, activist, and PACC alumni. She is a guest contributor for PACC’s session on Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Practice that features her as the subject of the documentary Blood Memory. Her book A Child of the Indian Race: A Story of Return was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2022.
Michelle Robertson, MSW, LGSW is Assistant Professor/Director of Field Education with The College of St. Scholastica’s BSW Social Work Program and has trained with PACC since the program started in 2010. She is a creator and facilitator of PACC’s session on Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Practice.
"The shared framework, process, and language around understanding permanency, healing, and well-being for children and families directly influence the advancement of our professionals. Child welfare workers are most often the first practitioners to meet the children and families that may face out-of-home placement or adoption, and it is so important that they have the same level of skills as mental health clinicians and adoption practitioners."
Elliott Odendahl, MSW, LICSW is a therapist at Sankalpa Therapy & Wellness Center and PACC alumni. She is a guest contributor for PACC’s session on Attachment, Grief and Loss; Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Practice; and is a Case Consultation facilitator.
"Having a sense of where you came from, how you got there and your culture can provide a feeling of being grounded and connected. Having a sense that the other people in your life understand this can cement this feeling further—not only are you being seen and heard but your truth is being acknowledged. There is empowerment in bringing truth to the forefront for everyone. Therefore, it behooves us as family members, caregivers and helping professionals to support the bringing of truth to those who have experienced the most disenfranchisement."
Wendy L. Baker, MSW, LICSW is co-founder of Family Circle Counseling and has trained with PACC since the program started in 2010. She is a creator and facilitator of PACC’s sessions on Attachment, Grief and Loss; and Trauma and Challenging Behavior, as well providing structure and facilitation to the Case Consultation model.
"It has been so rewarding to see the positive impact that the PACC program has had for adoptive families and adoptees over the years. We have learned so much over the years about what families and individuals are dealing with through this life changing experience. And I see daily the difference it makes for families and adoptees to have knowledgeable, compassionate people walking this path with them. I see the collaboration between Child Welfare Workers and Clinicians, developed through PACC, benefit our adoptive families tremendously as they seek support and guidance."
Cameron Lee Small, MS, LPCC is the founder of Therapy Redeemed and is an adoption reform activist and PACC Alumni. He is a facilitator for PACC’s sessions on Attachment, Grief and Loss; and Adult Adoptees.
" 'Adoption is love' continues to stand as a fiction that holds many adoptees back from resources we desperately need. The PACC experience helps replace that veil with something new. It equips service providers with knowledge and tools to support adoptees through emerging experiences of consciousness, healing, and credibility - adoptee voices count and there is a way forward. PACC participants step into that journey with us as we face new and persistent challenges together - with hope and in solidarity."
Misty Coonce, MSW, LISW was recently appointed Ombudsperson for the Office of Foster Youth after years of work as a program director at Ampersand Families and is a PACC alumni. She has collaborated on Permanency and Child Welfare curriculum and is a guest contributor for PACC’s session on Adult Adoptees.
The Governor's office released the following statement about her appointment: “As the new ombudsperson for the Office of Foster Youth, Misty Coonce will bring her powerful story and lived experience to this role serving and protecting Minnesota’s youth in foster care,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. "I’m grateful for her commitment to centering equity and advancing dignity in this critical work. I know her work will move us closer to making Minnesota the best state in the country for kids.”
Hannah Burton, MSW, JD is completing her law degree as an Equal Justice Works fellow with Hamline's Institute to Transform Child ProtectionLinks to an external site., and is a PACC Alumni. She is a guest expert for Session 1: Permanency and Adoption.
Amelia LeGarde, MSW, is a social worker with St. Louis County and community trainer with the University of Minnesota -Duluth's Tribal Training Certificate Program (TTCP), and is a PACC alumni. She is a guest expert for Session 1: Permanency and Adoption.
Amy Wilkerson, MSW, LCSW is a therapist and founder of Copihue Counseling, co-host to Adoptees Dish Podcast, author of the children's book Being Adopted, and is a PACC alumni. She is a guest expert with Session 5: Trauma and Challenging Behavior, as well as a Case Consultation facilitator.
Nicole Sheppard, MS, LPCC is a licensed psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at Mental Health Systems, and is a PACC alumni. She is a guest expert for Session 6: Adult Adoptees.