Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children
Senior Resource Attorney
Amanda Adler serves as Senior Resource Attorney to the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children. She works with policymakers, service providers and stakeholders to identify the most pressing needs of children in the state and to make policy and legislative recommendations to improve the lives of South Carolina’s youngest citizens. Amanda is a former educator who has taught in public schools in South Carolina and Georgia. She has written training materials and presented for a wide range of audiences and has published on topics related to student drop-out, teacher retention, and school finance. She has a law degree from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Regional Director, Region II
Dawn Barton completed her Bachelors of Social Work at Columbia College. She is a Certified Adoption Investigator for South Carolina. Dawn has been with the South Carolina Department of Social Services working in Child Welfare for 17 years. She has served as a Child Protective Services Investigator and Supervisor. Additional roles with SCDSS were in the Division of Adoption Services. She served as an Adoption Specialist, Adoption Supervisor, and Regional Adoption Administrator. Currently, she is one of 5 Regional Human Service Director’s with the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The counties of coverage in her Region include Lexington, Richland, Fairfield, Kershaw, Chester, Lancaster, York and Union. Her proudest accomplishments are being a wife, mother and growing in the field of Child Welfare for 17 years.
South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
Sue Berkowitz is an attorney and serves as Director for South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center fights for low-income South Carolinians to overcome social, economic and legal injustice. The Center uses a combination of facts, grassroots organizing, powerful messaging, direct contact with people who can make a difference, and the law to get things done.
Fostering Great Ideas
Board of Directors
Dan Bracken is a foster parent and serves on the Board of Directors for Fostering Great Ideas. He is also the Broker in Charge for Leonardi Bracken Real Estate. He first began working with the company nearly a decade ago as the marketing director and now oversees the daily activities and direction of the company. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina. He is also very active within the community where he serves as Chair of the Pickens County YMCA Board, Cornerstone Bank Advisory Board, State Foster Care Review Board and is active in the Foster Care Community.
North Public Relations
Vice President of Policy & Advocacy Programs
Megan Branham lives in Columbia, South Carolina and has spent more than 12 years advocating in the non-profit sector to improve the lives of children across the Palmetto State. Since completing her Masters in Social Work at the University of South Carolina, Megan has advanced legislation and policies improving child well-being during her time at Children’s Trust of South Carolina and the Palmetto Association for Children and Families, implemented programs to improve maternal and child health with the South Carolina March of Dimes and has facilitated community efforts to prevent teen pregnancy while at Palmetto Health. She is also adjunct faculty at Columbia College and is a volunteer Guardian at Litem.
Megan is also a graduate of The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s leadership Institute for State-based Advocates with an emphasis on results based leadership. When she’s not at the State House or working from one of her favorite local coffee shops, Megan can be found spending time with her husband and daughter traveling, cheering for the Gamecocks or running a race at Disney World!
Institute for Child Success
Vice President and General Counsel
Bryan Boroughs has been with ICS since 2014, coming to the team from the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where he worked as an Investigative Counsel. Prior to that work, he helped start a non-profit advocacy organization, Young Invincibles, focused on expanding economic opportunity and sound public policies for young adults. Before law school, he worked for several youth-serving organizations including the Mountainview Whisman Elementary School District, the Girl Scouts of Santa Clara County, and Mental Health America of Greenville County. Born in Tennessee, he attended Furman University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. He later obtained a Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. He serves on several boards including Trident United Way’s Public Policy Council, the Tri-County Cradle to Career Kindergarten Readiness Guiding Team, and Increasing HOPE’s Board of Directors (a Community Development Center in Charleston). He is a recent graduate of Riley Institute at Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, and is a Partner at Engage Strategies.
Kim Clifton, M.S.W., is a native of Savannah, Georgia and a graduate of the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She received her Master of Social Work degree from Boston University with a concentration in program planning and development, community organizing and nonprofit administration. She has over 20 years of nonprofit experience working to support children and families which included working as a VISTA* member on Whidbey Island, Washington, serving as the Director of Development for a community center in inner-city Boston, and working in Guatemala as a fundraising specialist. In 2005, she was hired as the first full-time Executive Director of HALOS, a nonprofit organization based in North Charleston, South Carolina, that builds partnerships with faith and community groups, businesses and individuals to publicize the needs of abused and neglected children and to identify resources to fill those needs. She was named one of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2008. In 2011, HALOS was the recipient of the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization’s Erin Hardwick Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management. She also serves on the South Carolina Citizens Review Panel. In 2015, she secured a three year grant of over $1 million from The Duke Endowment and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina to expand and enhance the kinship care program model to include intensive case management for kinship families.
Growing Home Southeast, Inc.
Brennon Graham is President and CEO of Growing Home Southeast, Inc. a state-wide family service agency providing a variety of services for at-risk children, youth and families. He has enjoyed a human services career that spans more than 20 years, serving at risk youth in the areas of homelessness, mental health/behavioral health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities. He previously served as Executive Director of The Relatives Inc. In this time, he has worked to build on the organization’s foundation as a shelter for runaway and homeless youth, creating a continuum of services to prepare youth and young adults to be healthy, productive, and engaged members of the community. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Master in Health Administration degree from Pfeiffer University as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.
South Carolina Office on Aging
Family Caregiver Program and Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center Program-Manager
Elizabeth Ford, M.A., LPC, provides direction, guidance, oversight, and management of the Family Caregiver Advocates at all 10 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in South Carolina. In this role she ensures that services, programs and respite vouchers are provided to seniors and their caregivers across the state. She also manages the Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center (ARCC) which was created by statute in 1994. The ARCC is responsible for providing statewide coordination of services to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well as their caregivers. The ARCC is currently working on updating the SC Alzheimer’s State Plan. She graduated from Clemson with a B.A. in Social Work and a M.A. in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. She has managed statewide programs in South Carolina for over 12 years. She is a licensed professional counselor intern in South Carolina and enjoys counseling part-time in private practice.
University of South Carolina School of Law
Josh Gupta-Kagan is an Associate Professor of Law and specializes in legal issues affecting children and families, especially child welfare and juvenile justice issues. Prior to joining the University of South Carolina faculty, he practiced at the Children’s Law Center in Washington DC, a legal services organization in the District of Columbia, representing children and family members in District of Columbia Family Court cases, and successfully advocating for legislative reforms. He has contributed to the District of Columbia’s 2007 statute governing custody actions filed by third parties, the re-establishment of a housing program for families of children at risk of entering foster care, and the expansion of guardianship subsidies to non-kin and extension of subsidies to age 21. He has written academic articles regarding various legal issues affecting children and the child welfare system, including issues related to kinship care, adoption, and guardianship.
Richland Co. Legislative Delegation
Legislative Services Coordinator
Kimberly A. Janha, Ph.D., is the Legislative Services Coordinator for the Richland County Legislative Delegation in Columbia, South Carolina. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty with Kaplan University. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Cognate in Social Work from the University of South Carolina (Columbia), a Masters in Human Resources Development from Webster University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Services from Capella University.
She and her husband (Sulay) assist in raising five nieces and nephews whose mother is deceased. She has served the citizens of South Carolina and Richland County as a former mentor to foster children, a former foster parent, and currently a member of the Midlands Citizen Review Panel for eight years. She and her husband have two children; Abie (14) and Ebrima (3). She lives to serve and has chosen to live by Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Generations United SC Grand Representative
Iona Jenkins is a native Charlestonian who is the proud mother of three and Kinship Caregiver to one granddaughter, Ashton, a vibrant young girl born prematurely and has been in her grandmother’s care since seven months of age. She worked in the Human Services field for almost twenty five years and holds an Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Trident Technical College and a Bachelor’s degree in Workforce Educational Development from Southern Illinois University. In addition to work and being a full time caregiver of both her granddaughter and her mother, she enjoys reading and singing. She is a two time breast cancer survivor. She is newly appointed by Generations United to participate in their Grandfamilies Advocacy Network Demonstration (GrAND) activities representing kinship caregivers from South Carolina designed specifically for kinship families to raise awareness and give input on a full range of issues affecting kin nationally. GrAND members serve as strategic partners with Generations United and Casey Family Programs to inform kinship policies and practices and to reveal family needs and service gaps.
SAFY of South Carolina
Community Based Prevention Services Network Administrator
Keonté Jenkins-Davis is the Empowering Families Network Administrator for SAFY of South Carolina. She provides oversight of the Statewide Community Based Prevention Services Program. She began her tenure at SAFY in 2011 as the Family and Treatment Services Director, where she successfully managed the start-up and growth of the Empowering Families program. She became Network Administrator in 2015 and continues to direct the program through strong team leadership, relationship building with key partners, compliance oversight, and budget management. Prior to joining SAFY, Ms. Jenkins-Davis held various leadership and direct service roles. She has over 20 years of experience in social work administration in child welfare. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker, having earned a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Morris College.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
State Kinship Care Manager
Benita K. Jones is a native of Barnwell, SC and a graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her Master of Science in Counseling from Capella University with a concentration in Human Behavior. She is a Doctoral Candidate for a PhD in Human Behavior at Capella University. Benita has been with the Department of Social Services since February 2012. She has served as a Child Protective Services Investigator, Family Preservation Case Manager, and an Eligibility Worker in Economic Services. She is a Certified Adoption Investigator for South Carolina. Benita served in the role of Regional Kinship Care Coordinator (Region 3) for Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, and Jasper counties until being promoted as State Kinship Care Manager in October 2018. Benita’s proudest accomplishments are being a mother to her thirteen (13) year old daughter, Braylen and being a voice for those who often can’t be a voice for themselves—the beautiful children of this great state!
Casey Family Programs
Senior Director, Strategic Consulting Team 1
Husband, father, grandfather… servant to vulnerable children and families, and the public systems that also serve them … loves golf, God, children and Stevey-Wonderful (wife), but not necessarily in that order! Lyman Legters has been at Casey Family Programs since 2002, where he has managed direct service operations and served as a strategic consultant for the foundation. From 2012 through 2015 served as a Senior Fellow at the US Department of Justice where he worked on Youth Violence Prevention, Juvenile Justice Systems Reform, Eliminating Racial Disparities and Cross-systems alignment/coordination. At the beginning of 2016, he became Casey Family Program’s Strategic Consultant for the states of Michigan and South Carolina. Prior to joining Casey Family Programs he served, for 20 years, in various roles for King County (Seattle) Juvenile Court. Facilitating systems reform and coordination, improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families, and achieving racial equity have been particular areas of focus during his career. He serves on the Steering Committee for the Youth Transition Funders Group, and is affiliated with the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, the Steering Committee for Linking Systems of Care initiative out of the Office of Victims of Crime, and has recently served on the national planning teams for both the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and Cities United. He has spoken at a number of conferences, symposia and universities.
Jennifer Miller is a social worker, child advocate and founding partner of ChildFocus, a national consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning, organizational development, and policy advocacy. Founded with Mary Bissell, ChildFocus is committed to bringing together the people, programs and policies that make a difference for children and families and has a special interest in ensuring that the voices of children and families inform policy development. ChildFocus also has special expertise on the issue of grandparents and other relatives raising children and together have written and advised extensively on how to best support kinship families. Previously, she was a strategic consultant with Cornerstone Consulting Group, she also worked on a broad range of issues at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She began her human services career at the American Public Welfare Association where she developed and analyzed federal legislation and regulations on child welfare issues and served as project manager for the National Association of Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA). She has a B.A. in Political Science from St. Lawrence University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her family in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Institute for Child Success
Jamie Moon joined the Institute for Child Success (ICS) as President in 2012. Originally from Upstate South Carolina, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston and master’s degree in International Affairs from The American University in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining ICS, he was the Executive Director of the Center for Developmental Services (CDS) from 2009-2012. He also served as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State, working as a consul and vice consul at several posts in Latin America. He currently serves as Board Chair of the Palmetto Shared Services Alliance and as Council Secretary of the Community Advisory Council of the Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital. In 2014, he was awarded the 2014 Child Advocacy Award by the S.C. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A graduate of the Riley Institute at Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, he is also an Advisory Board member for Clemson University’s Elementary and Early Childhood Education Programs and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Early Childhood Development program at Greenville Technical College.
Richland School District Two
Certified Parent Educator & Kinship Care Support Group Coordinator
Wendy Myers graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS degree in Natural Resources Conservation. In addition to her love of nature and environmental protection, she has another passion, which is the well-being of children and families. Wendy began working with children when she was in college and has had various jobs, such as director of summer camps, in-home childcare provider, scout leader, youth group leader, and Kindergarten teaching assistant at Pontiac Elementary School. During her 23 years in the district, she has designed and helped create several school gardens to provide essential hands-on learning opportunities to students from Pre-K to fifth grade. Wendy currently serves families in Richland School District Two as a Parent Educator and works primarily with the parents of Child Development students. She became involved in Richland School District Two’s Kinship Care Support Group three years ago and assisted in creating a second Kinship support group in order to serve additional families within the district.
Chynna A. Phillips
Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina
Research and Policy Manager
Chynna A. Phillips joined the Foundation part-time in 2016 and is currently the Foundation’s Research and Policy Manager. She is responsible for aiding in the development and implementation of an advocacy agenda for the two statewide Foundation Initiatives, the Kinship Care Initiative and an Immigrant Families Initiative while convening key stakeholders to address needed changes in systems that impact families experiencing poverty statewide. She is also responsible for leading research on emerging issues/ best practices that impact the Foundation’s mission as well as building relationships with grantees and other community stakeholders. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as an Admissions Coordinator at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, interned for the Children’s Defense Fund, and most recently served as a Community Advocate for Palmetto Health hospital. Originally from the small island of New Providence or Nassau, Bahamas, she attributes her strong sense of community and enjoyment of engaging with others to her island roots. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and Masters of Social Work and a Masters in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She cares deeply about health equity, social justice and advocating for vulnerable populations. In her spare time Mrs. Phillips can be found reading a good book, watching an interesting documentary, or spending time with her husband, her son and their energetic dog.
Phillip H. Redmond, Jr.
The Duke Endowment
Director, Child Care Program Area
Phil Redmond serves as Director of the Child Care program at The Duke Endowment. The Child Care program area works through accredited organizations and other select nonprofit groups to expand opportunities for vulnerable children in North Carolina and South Carolina. Funding focuses on equipping children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives and driving child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being. While at the Endowment, he has directed several projects on a variety of topics including, among others, wellness, domestic violence, building the evaluation capacity of non-profits and education. He previously was the executive director of The Children’s Law Center in Charlotte, North Carolina and formerly was in private practice in North Carolina. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1986 and Juris Doctor Degree from Campbell University School of Law, Buies Creek, North Carolina, 1989. He sits on the board of directors for the Council on Accreditation. He joined in 2000 as Assistant Director of the Child Care Division and was promoted to Associate Director in 2006.
Mellinda Brabham Tyler
South Carolina Department of social Services
Region V Kinship Care Coordinator
Mellinda Brabham Tyler is the Kinship Care Coordinator for Region V with the South Carolina Department of Social Services which includes Abbeville, Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Saluda Counties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University. She has been employed with various governmental agencies and has gained a wealth of knowledge regarding educational design, youth development, child welfare and program development for the last 16 years. She has completed a Global Career Development Facilitator certification course. She is also a Certified Adoption Investigator.
Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.
Kathleen Warthen is the policy attorney for Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A). P&A is a statewide, nonprofit advocacy organization whose purpose is to promote the legal, civil, and human rights of people with disabilities. The State of South Carolina has designated P&A to serve as the federally-mandated Protection and Advocacy System for the state. Kathleen is currently serving on the Employment First Study Committee, and supervises the Representative Payee program at P&A, which investigates financial exploitation of beneficiaries of Social Security.
National Youth Advocate Program – SC
Shannon Watson was born, raised and resides in Holly Hill, South Carolina. She is currently a Certified Investigator (Contractor) for the National Youth Advocate Program of Charleston, Community Violence Liaison for Berkeley County at My Sister’s House, Incorporated, Certified Benefits Counselor for SC Thrive, Certified Victim Service Provider and South Carolina Notary Public. She is married to Corey Watson, and they are the proud parents to two children. She graduated from Charleston Southern University in 2004. She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She has graduate hours in Counseling from Webster University and South University. She has experience working with children in foster care and behavioral issues, low income families, along with women and children facing domestic violence. She is married to Reverend Corey Watson, and they are proud parents to two children.
Epworth Children’s Home
Executive Vice President of Program Development
Beth serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Epworth Children’s Home. She is leading the development of Epworth’s new Institute for Child and Family Well-being. Beth is excited about the wonderful opportunity to both expand the mission of Epworth, and improve upon the current services for children. Beth has had a career in child welfare spanning over 25 years. Beth served as Vice President of Children’s Ministries at Miracle Hill Ministries in Greenville, where she supervised daily operations for multiple children’s programs, including residential group homes, foster care and family prevention services, as well as other duties. Prior to that, Beth served as Vice President for the Bair Foundation for sixteen years where she developed behavioral health programs in multiple states including SC, GA, NC, VA and TX.
Working with communities to build programs for children and families has been a passion throughout her career and something she looks forward to providing for Epworth. Beth Williams is originally from Tennessee where she received her B.A. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Memphis in Tennessee and began her career working with children and families through family preservation work. She received her M.S. degree from Capella University in Counseling in 2004. Child advocacy work is Beth’s passion along with spending time with her husband and daughter
Child Abuse Prevention Association
Christina Wilson is the Executive Director at the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) in Beaufort, South Carolina. She received her B.S. in Financial Management from Clemson University and her M.S. in Public Administration from South University. After a fifteen-year career as a real estate paralegal, Christina made the shift to child welfare management for deeply personal reasons. After a twelve year journey through the Florida child welfare system as a foster mother, a relative care provider and eventually an adoptive parent, she recognized that this country’s abused and neglected children needed a louder voice. She was given the opportunity to be that voice in her own hometown as director of CAPA. The mission of CAPA is to break the destructive cycle of child abuse and neglect by equipping parents, children and their caregivers with necessary skills, knowledge and values. She currently resides in Beaufort, SC with her husband Jason, their four adopted and amazing children, and three dogs. She still carries the mission of adoption close to heart and is thrilled to share her experience with anyone who will listen.