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Chief Executive Officer

Michael Patrick

Michael Patrick is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In addition to being CEO of the parent company, he also oversees TFI’s Family of Companies operations as a board member over TFI Family Services, Inc. in Kansas and Nebraska, Pathway Family Services in Kansas, TFI Family Connections in Oklahoma, as well as Mainstream Nonprofit Solutions and Foster Care Technologies, both of which are multi-state organizations. Additionally, Michael Patrick serves as a board member for the Texas Family Initiative, LLC, which provides foster care, adoption, and behavioral health services in more than 40 counties in Texas.
He has more than 30 years of experience in the human service field. He is a former Child Welfare League of America Freddy Mac Scholarship Award winner. Mr. Patrick has served on multiple State and National advisory boards and committees. His management by outcomes expertise is nationally recognized, as well as his extensive knowledge in child welfare privatization efforts and practices.
Michael Patrick has a bachelor’s degree in Corrections and Criminal Justice from Washburn University and a Master’s degree in Social Work with an administrative concentration from the University of Kansas.
Chief Operations Officer

Shirley Dwyer

Shirley Dwyer is the Chief Operations Officer (COO) for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In addition to serving as the CEO of the parent company, she also serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Texas Family Initiative LLC, which provides foster care, adoption, case management, and behavioral health services to Texas children and families.
Shirley Dwyer has over 30 years of experience working for a variety of child welfare organizations, including the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, the State of Kansas Department of Children and Families, The Family Initiative (TFI) Inc., and other non-profit service agencies. For over a decade, Dwyer served the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) as a federal grants panel Chairman and reviewer of many federal panels. Ms. Dwyer is also experienced in research and co-authored the journal article "Prevention of Sexual Abuse for Preschoolers: Evaluation of a Pilot Program," a ground-breaking study published in Psychological Reports, 1988, Volume 62, pp. 387-396.
Shirley earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas and has continued her education in the areas of public policy, management, and executive processes.
General Counsel

Brenden Long

Brenden Long is the General Counsel for The Family Initiative, Inc., and its affiliated agencies. As General Counsel, he provides legal representation and advice on areas of concern to TFI, along with overseeing the agency legal risk management plan, and providing management oversight to the performance improvement/risk management and data analysis departments of the agency. Brenden serves on the TFI Finance and Risk Management Leadership Team and has served as liaison to various other leadership teams.
Brenden Long has more than 40 years of experience as an attorney, providing compliance and organizational representation to nonprofit and governmental organizations. He has more than ten years of experience in child welfare with TFI, serving as legal counsel along with leading compliance and performance improvement, data analysis teams and various support departments.
Brenden Long has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Washburn University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Washburn University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the State of Kansas.
Chief Administration Officer

Melissa Briggs, Ph.D.

Dr. Melissa Briggs is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In her role, she oversees the software, information technology, human resources, marketing and communications, fund development, and program development departments for the TFI Family of Companies. She currently serves on TFI’s Finance & Risk Management Leadership Team and TFI’s Development Team. Additionally, she is a founding member of TFI’s Leadership Institute.
Melissa is very active in her community and is involved in many leadership and board positions. She is a Board Director for TDC Learning Center in Topeka, Kansas, a non-profit childcare and education center. She is also the Vice President of Post-Secondary for the Kansas School Counseling Association (KSCA), and she has chaired and participated on committees for the Kansas Counseling Association (KCA), the Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC), and the NADTA. She also sits on the local District Council for Topeka 501 (DCAC) school and multiple Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO).
Melissa earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Pittsburg State University, her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from Pittsburg State University, a Doctorate in Counseling Education from Pittsburg State University, and a PhD in Counseling and Supervision from Kansas State University. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Kansas and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Texas. She is also a registered and board-certified Drama Therapist (RDT-BC) and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor (RPT-S).

Carol Dold-Harris

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Program Officer (CPO)

Rachelle Roosevelt

Rachelle Roosevelt is the Chief Programs Officer (CPO) at The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). She oversees the agency’s family preservation, foster care, residential, clinical, and prevention services. She currently serves on TFI’s Finance & Risk Management Leadership Team and is a founding member of the agency’s Leadership Institute.
Rachelle has more than 30 years of experience in child and family well-being services in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska. Rachelle started as a social worker at the Kansas Department of Children and Families, working with youth with juvenile offenses and later with children who were abused and neglected. She was a child protective services worker for several years as well. Rachelle has worked at TFI for 20 years in community-based and foster care services. She has been an Aftercare Specialist, Supervisor, Director, Vice President, and Senior Vice President prior to moving into her current role in 2023. Rachelle is passionate about helping children and families heal from the trauma of separation. She believes that the key to solving child abuse and neglect is strengthening the family unit through connection and support for those families.
Rachelle holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wichita State University and is a Licensed Social Worker in Kansas.
Senior Vice President of Permanency Services

Tabitha Gibson

Tabitha Gibson, LMSW, is the Senior Vice President of Permanency for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In this role, she oversees and implements the case management contracts in Southeast and South Central Kansas, including out-of-home and aftercare case management services, as well as the special response team and relative/kinship teams. In addition to case management oversight, Tabitha has served on multiple internal TFI Leadership Teams, including as a member of the agency’s Development and Technology Teams, Chair of Management Team, and as a facilitator of the Agency’s Leadership Institute.
Tabitha began her social work career in 1997 with the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) before becoming an Adoption Case Manager with TFI in 1998. Since then, she has served the agency in various capacities, including 11 years in the Foster Care program and nine years in the Kansas Case Management program. Tabitha also served as the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center in Pittsburg, Kansas, for 4 years and as the Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment for the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas before returning to TFI.
Tabitha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Pittsburg State University and her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas.
Senior Vice President of Foster Care & Residential Programs

Pam Richardson

Pam Richardson is the Senior Vice President of Foster Care and Residential Services for The Family Initiative (TFI), Inc. In addition to being the Senior Vice President, she is a dedicated professional with a passion for child welfare and fostering positive change in the community. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her current role. She currently serves as Vice Chair of TFI’s Management Leadership Team.
Pam’s extensive experience spans various positions within TFI, from foster care worker to supervisor, director, vice president and now senior vice president. Richardson is deeply committed to enhancing programs and services for children in need, having served on internal and external community committees. Her expertise in regulatory and licensing matters in the states TFI serves has been instrumental in ensuring compliance and quality standards.
She has more than 24 years developing and implementing strategies that drive efficiencies and improve outcomes within the programs she has overseen. Her leadership extends beyond TFI and has presented at national conferences on behalf of TFI. Richardson has actively served in various leadership roles within her community and within the organization. Her background in residential services and educational liaison work in public schools has equipped Richardson with a unique perspective and skill to her current leadership role at TFI.
Pam Richardson has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Pittsburg State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas.
Senior Vice President of Clinical & Assessment Services

Melissa Wood

Melissa Wood is the Senior Vice President of Clinical and Assessment Services for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). She oversees the Intake and Placement, as well as Clinical and Prevention programs, including Family Preservation, Community Clinical Services, and Pathway Family Services’ Residential Clinical teams. Wood is the current Chair of TFI’s Performance and Quality Leadership Team.
Melissa previously served as the Intake and Placement Director for 2Ingage, a program of TFI. She has more than 24 years of experience in the foster care and child welfare field. Prior to employment with TFI, she served other agencies in the roles of Senior Vice President of Clinical, Admissions, Quality & Community-Based Care; VP of Quality Assurance; CPA Treatment Director; RTC Clinical Director; and RTC/GRO Therapist. In each of these roles, she was involved in consulting with a child psychiatrist on the evaluation and monitoring of psychotropic medications. Wood is passionate about treating trauma, family preservation, and keeping siblings together.
Wood received her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor.
Vice President of Permanency

Shay Collins

Shay Collins is the Vice President of Permanency for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In this role, she is responsible for the management oversight of TFI’s foster care, reintegration and adoption case management grant for Area 8 in Southcentral Kansas.
Collins has served at TFI for 17 years in various roles and has extensive experience in social work, including investigations, juvenile corrections, hospital, case management, and quality improvement/risk management. She has served on various boards, including the Kansas Strong for Children and Families Interagency Advisory Board, and was previously chair of the 19th Judicial Kansas Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board from 2011 to 2013. She has also served on the Community Family Planning Advisory Council and the Parents as Teachers Advisory Council. Shay has worked diligently her entire career to strengthen children and families.
Collins received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She also holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kansas and is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).
Vice President of Foster Care Technologies

Paul Epp

Paul Epp is the Vice President for Foster Care Technologies (FCT). In this role, Paul manages the overall FCT business unit, which includes designing, developing, and maintaining products, managing the teams, and supporting and delivering solutions to customers.
One of the founding members of FCT, Paul, led the development and implementation of early versions of Every Child a Priority (ECAP) and Foster Family Portal. He has done presentations, served on panels at social services and government IT conferences, and helped bring FCT’s products to agencies nationwide. He is excited about technology and the ways in which it can help improve the way we live. He has spent his career using technology to help improve the lives of children and families.
Paul has an MBA from the University of Kansas and 10 years of experience in the technology industry.
Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Taylor Forrest

Taylor Forrest-Crowell is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). She oversees marketing, internal and external communications, public relations, branding, event planning and advertising for the TFI Family of Companies. She currently serves as vice chairperson for TFI’s Development Team.
Before her current role, Taylor served as the Director of Marketing for TFI. Taylor joined the TFI Family of Companies in 2019 after having served as Director of Communications for the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka. Before that role, she served in the Communications Department for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, with her final role being the Director of Communications for the agency. She is passionate about helping organizations share their brand and story in an effective way and creating positive communication channels.
Taylor has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Southwestern College. She is also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Digital and Integrated Marketing Communications. She holds Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) certificates in Media Relations and Crisis Communications.
Vice President of Information Technology

Michael Gichoga

Michael Gichoga is the Vice President of Information Technology for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). Michael oversees the technology infrastructure and security of TFI’s digital assets and service delivery to our company staff through the Care Connect Center Department. Both the Information Technology and Care Center departments are vital to TFI’s day-to-day operations and Michael ensures that staff get a uniform customer-oriented service delivery.
Michael has been in Technology for over 20 years and has overseen multiple digital transformations in TFI. His passion for continuous innovation to give the organization he works for an edge with technology efficiency has been the key emphasis of his career. Michael has specialized in cloud technologies and was present to see TFI go from Novell Networks to a cloud native stance in the Microsoft Cloud. Michael has also steered TFI through the tough cyber security landscape and oversees the integrity of the systems and networks that TFI relies on and works with other key industry stakeholders to keep TFI ahead of the curve.
Michael holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Southwestern College.
VP of Software

Sean Green

Sean Green is the Vice President of Software for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). He oversees all aspects of software development within the company, leading strategic planning, execution, and optimization of software initiatives that provide first-class tools to TFI and its staff. Along with overseeing TFI’s internal software, he also manages all software development for Foster Care Technologies, which provides matching software to TFI and external agencies across the U.S.
He has more than 15 years of experience in the software field, both as a software engineer and a visionary leader, across diverse corporate landscapes. Working within larger enterprise companies, small service companies, and consulting has given him a unique set of experiences and views on the software world.
Sean Green has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Systems from Kansas State University and is a Certified Scrum Master from the Scrum Alliance, Inc.
Vice President of Finance

Curtiss Hemby

Curtiss Hemby is the Vice President of Finance for The Family Initiative, Inc (TFI). He directly oversees the resource management and financial analysis for the TFI Family of Companies. Additionally, Curtiss Hemby serves on the TFI Development Team and the RFP Planning Committee.
He has approximately 18 years of experience in the human services field, starting his career with TFI as Kansas Director of Foster Care. Mr. Hemby was also a foster parent of teenage boys for 16 years, having fostered more than 21 young men during that time. He moved on from TFI and worked 11 years in the transportation industry, four years as Corporate Director of Human Resources, and an additional seven years as Vice President of Operations. Curtiss Hemby also served 10 years as a Combat Engineer in the Kansas Army National Guard. He has a solid passion for empowering others to become the best version of themselves.
Curtiss Hemby has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Pittsburg State University, a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Pittsburg State University, and a Master’s of Social Work with an Administrative Concentration from the University of Kansas.
Vice President of Permanency Services

Emily Hermesch

Emily Hermesch is the Vice President of Permanency for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI) and has over 20 years of experience in child welfare. Emily currently leads all the support services positions in two permanency contract areas in Kansas. Emily is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner, a Solution-Based Casework Trainer of Trainers, and has journeyed with many children and families through their laughter and tears.
Emily is a co-author of a Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal article, “I Ran to Make a Point”: Predicting and Preventing Youth Absences from Foster Care. She believes that small things can make big impacts, in the lives of others. Emily is honored to serve the children and families of Kansas.
Emily holds a Master’s Degree in Family Life Education and Consultation from Kansas State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas. Emily is a Licensed Social Worker through the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB).
Vice President of Foster Care

Shannon Horton

Shannon Horton is the Vice President of Foster Care for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). Shannon is responsible for the oversight of foster care services in Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Shannon has over 16 years of experience in child welfare, with over 10 years at TFI. Shannon is a Trust Based Relational Interaction (TBRI) Practitioner, ensuring TFI is utilizing trauma-informed care to best meet the needs of the children and families we serve.

Shannon Horton has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Shannon is a clinical therapist, obtaining her LCMFT (Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist) in 2011. Shannon graduated from TFI’s Leadership Institute, as well as Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program.

Vice President of Human Resources

Heather Johanning

Heather Johanning is the Vice President of Human Resources for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI), providing human resources support to the TFI Family of Companies. Heather is responsible for overseeing the employee life cycle, from hire to retire. She currently serves as the Secretary for the TFI Performance and Quality Leadership Team.
Heather has more than 30 years of experience in human resources in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Her passion for this work can be summed up with the following: orking in HR can sometimes be hard but also immensely rewarding because we are doing our best to support our company’s biggest asset, our staff.
Heather has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Kansas and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management and Administration from Ottawa University.
Vice President of Performance & Risk Management

Ashley King

Ashley King, LMSW is the Vice President of Performance and Risk Management for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In this role, she oversees agency-wide internal and external monitoring and audits, spearheads efforts with the Council on Accreditation (COA), coordinates and executes agency licensing, Total Quality Improvement (TQI), and houses the Consumer Affairs Specialist who handles all concerns and complaints for the TFI Family of Companies. Additionally, Ashley serves as a standing member and former Chair for TFI’s Performance and Quality Leadership Team, the TQI liaison to Management Team, and is a former member of the Finance and Risk Management Team.
Ashley began her social work career as a foster care worker at TFI in 2006, then promoted to a Foster Care Supervisor, a position she held for many years. She worked briefly in long-term care as a transitional social worker and as a school-based therapist. In late 2019, Ashley returned to TFI as the quality improvement supervisor, then promoted to director prior to taking the vice president role in October 2020.
Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of Kansas. She has held master’s level licensure since 2009.
Vice President of Program Development

Patricia Long

Patricia Long is the Vice President of Program Development for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). Patricia’s role is to oversee procurement for new funding, identify gaps in services and research projects, and implement programs that are evidence-based and fiscally sound. Patricia serves as a member of TFI’s Management Leadership Team and is the former Chair of TFI’s Development Team.

Patrica has 39 years of experience in child welfare, including the past five years with TFI. Patricia has vast experience at the local, state, and national levels and is passionate about child welfare. She has served on numerous state and national committees. Patricia’s career and primary focus and expertise are in foster care, adoption, and independent living.
Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas. Patricia is currently pursuing a certificate with the Center for Implementation in applying theory, science implementation, and evidence-based change methods to improve outcomes for children and families.

Vice President of Information Services

Kyle Manahan

Kyle Manahan is the Senior Data and Business Analyst for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). He has more than 30 years of experience in Software Development and Data Analytics and more than 20 years of experience working in the child and family services field with TFI.

He oversaw the original development of TFI’s home-grown software applications that helped them grow into the nationally recognized, multi-state company they are today. More recently, his focus has been on compiling and analyzing data to help TFI continue to grow and thrive.

Chief of Staff

Angela Nowell

Angela L. Crabtree-Nowell is the Chief of Staff for The Family Initiative, Inc. She is responsible for strategic planning and executive oversight for the TFI Family of Companies, as well as special projects. She currently serves as a member of the TFI Finance and Risk Management Team and previously served as chairperson of TFI’s Development Team.
Before her current role, Angela was the TFI Senior Administrator, responsible for the Texas foster care program, kinship care program, and the startup of the PFS Blue Skies residential facility in Wichita Falls, Texas. Angela joined the TFI Family of Companies in 2020 after having led a leading Child Placing Agency in the State of Texas for several years. In addition, she spent fifteen years working for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), primarily in the Residential Child Care Licensing Division.
Angela has a Masters's Degree in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management from the University of Texas at Arlington. Additionally, she received a Bachelors Degree in Social Science, a Bachelors Degree in History, and an Associates Degree in Applied Business from Shawnee State University. Since 2014, she has been a Licensed Child Placing Agency Administrator in the State of Texas.
Vice President of Permanency Services

Shaileen Owens

Shaileen R. Owens is the Vice President of Permanency for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI) in Kansas. With over 22 years of experience in child welfare working in different states, including New York, Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas, Shaileen brings unparalleled expertise to her role. She oversees the TFI Permanency Program in Area 8 and has recently returned to Area 4. Shaileen's primary responsibility is to assist her directors in meeting current and long-term goals within the case management contract, ensuring that children and families served by the contract reach permanency in a timely and safe manner.

Shaileen's commitment to excellence is evident in her work. She has been working with the State of Kansas and the Annie E. Casey Foundation on the SOUL project and is on the path to becoming certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She is passionate about empowering individuals and families to make positive life changes and giving others grace. This philosophy is why she continues to work in human services.

Shaileen earned her Master's in Social Work from Michigan State University, and she is a licensed social worker in Kansas and Missouri.

Vice President of Family Services

Donna Rozell

Donna Rozell is the Vice President of Family Services for The Family Initiative (TFI), Inc. She is responsible for the oversite of Clinical and Prevention Services and Family First Programs in Texas and Kansas. Prevention programs include Texas Family First, Grow Nurturing Families, and Kansas Family Preservation. Donna has served on a TFI Leadership Team for over two years and is currently the Chair of TFI’s Development Team.

Prior to working in the field of child welfare, Donna worked for many years at the Winfield State Hospital and Training Center, a state hospital in Kansas serving individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. She has more than 30 years of experience working with children and families. Donna earned a certificate from Georgetown Public Policy Institute, in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: Multi-System Integration. She has served as a Board member of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas and has also been involved in efforts to privatize child welfare in Kansas and Nebraska.

Donna has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in child welfare and clinical studies from the University of Kansas.

Vice President of Administrative Services

Jennifer Sannan

Jennifer Sannan is the Vice President of Intake and Placement for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). In this role, she oversees the Intake and Placement department, which coordinates placements into TFI foster homes and all placement work for grants and contracts in Texas and Kansas. Jennifer currently serves as a member of TFI’s Development Leadership Team.
Jennifer has more than 27 years in child welfare in various roles. For 22 of those years, Jennifer has been with TFI, serving as a Care Manager, a Care Manager Supervisor, a Care Management Director, and now as a Vice President. In addition to her work at TFI, Jennifer has also served as Program Director at a Child Placing Agency, a case manager in a juvenile program, and an educational coordinator for youth in shelters. Jennifer played an active role in the development of TFI’s evidence-based matching system and has given presentations around the country about the success of the system. Jennifer is passionate about ensuring youth always have safe, stable placements where they have an opportunity to heal from past trauma and become productive, successful adults.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Dayton (Ohio) and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Washburn University (Kansas).
Vice President of Policy & Research

Brandy Tofel

Brandy Tofel is the Vice President of Policy and Research for The Family Initiative, Inc. (TFI). She manages care coordination, utilization review, data analysis and validation, contract management and agency policies and procedures. Brandy has served on various youth-serving and educational boards and panels, including ten years with the Citizen Review Panel Board for Douglas County, and is currently serving on the Superintendent’s Panel for USD 497. She also currently serves as the chairperson for TFI’s Management Team.

Brandy has over 20 years of programmatic and administrative experience in child welfare and education. She is an accreditation implementation and oversight expert, leading multiple agencies to achieve over five different accreditations over her tenure. Brandy earned her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Kansas State University in Sociology, and a Master of Liberal Arts from Baker University.

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