The Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency Team is a partnership between Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) division of Child Safety and Permanency, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, and volunteer parent leaders statewide. This partnership results in a co-created team of volunteer parent consultants that act as partners with the child welfare system, bringing their life experiences and the knowledge from their communities to improve family service practices within DHS.
What are the goals of the team?
- Including parents as key partners in rethinking and improving child welfare strategies;
- Connecting parents to policy and child welfare practice reviews;
- Advancing family strength-centered practice at local level and community level; and
- Meeting federal mandates to include parents in planning, implementation, and evaluation of services.
Who can be a parent leader?
The Parent Leadership Team for Child Safety seeks parents who have in the past (or are currently) experiencing the benefit of family support programs and who can speak of their experiences and relate them to broader issues. They are expected to attend all required team meetings and trainings, build mutually respectful relationships with a diverse audience, and have had positive experiences participating in community processes and activities.
If you have any questions, please contact Rena Moran at 651-757-0087 or email email@example.com.
Our 2017 Parent Leader Consultants
I am a member of the Upper Sioux community near Granite Falls MN. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris. I took a combination of economics, political science, and Native American studies for a build your own major, my official degree was Indigenous Governance and Development. I started my Masters at Augsburg College, the focus was on Native American education with special needs.
I work for Department of Human Services at a group home, Minnesota State Operated Community Services (MSOCS), doing direct care with individuals with mental health struggles. My free time is spent with my children and fighting for a better world for my children.
Hello I’m Briana’ S. Barnes. I’m from St. Paul, MN and the proud mother of a beautiful 2 year old daughter names Aniylah. Over the course of my life I’ve always had a passion for youth and wanting to see them explore their horizons. In 2014 I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own non-profit organization called Dream S.K.Q.U.A.D. A youth organization designed to help youth with leadership skills and community outreach. Over the last two years I have seen many youth come into my organization feeling broken because home is not their place of peace and school has lost its security so the youth don’t feel safe. I feel the greatest purpose in my life is to make sure our youth succeed at their highest potential. So I joined this organization to be the voice for our parents and children so they have a fighting chance in today’s society. I know alongside with other like mined people we can change policies and help make this a place we all want to live in. Team work makes the dream work!
I come from a very diverse and adverse background. I have learned along the way that having diagnosis’s do not and should not be identifiers for personalities just a clue to what a person has survived. I am very outgoing, I love to laugh and to make others laugh. My children and I love to go park hoping as a way of exploration and finding new favorite spots around the state.
Zhawin Gonzalez is a single father of three young boys located in Minneapolis, MN. Who is currently a full-time student at Augsburg college, double majoring in American Indian Studies and Communications. Zhawin is a graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where he received his AA in Liberal Arts. Where he was a Student Senate Officer.
Before graduation, Zhawin launched his path by participating in the Fathers Project in Minneapolis. Where he began his specialization in child development achieving a certification as a Parent Group Facilitator and Employment Readiness Training. That eventually led to the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center where Zhawin completed a Computer Support Specialist certificate. It was inn this capacity that Zhawin was awarded the Father of Year Award in 2013 by the Festivals of Fathers and Families. Soon afterward, his expanding odyssey in child development aloud him create a partnership with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe facilitating his own parenting classes. Zhawin was also an effective volunteer for the Fathers Project a highly recognized entity that received national recognition as a innovative program, where he Co-Facilitated parenting classes in which clients became highly successful. He later served at the Fathers Project Division of Indian Works that has been a key contributor to the Native community for more than 64 years by providing programs such as Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP), Strengthening Family Circles, Healing Spirit and Health Services.
My name is Kali Goettsche,
I was born in 1989 here in MN. I spent most of my childhood living in Florida with my mother and older brother. I have 1 older brother who’s name is Chad, he and I are Native American, from Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwa. I have 4 beautiful children of my own, Isabella-7, Jayden-5, Kyla-4 and Serenity Faith-1. I am a single mother who works full-time to support my family, I am also a proud woman in recovery of 1.5 years. I am a person who believes in positive affirmations and gratitudes, it helps me get through just about anything. My kids are my world, any and everything I do is ultimately for them. God is also a huge part of my life. Ever since my addiction my career path is aimed at helping other families who are struggling, because I know first hand what it feels like to lose my kids due to an addiction, to lose my soul to an addiction and to lose sight in life because of an addiction. I was recently blessed with the opportunity of working at the ICWA LAW center as a Parent Mentor, which means I get to use my story and be a positive support to other parents and families who get put in the CPS system. I also do a lot of volunteer work in the community about these issues too. All in all I am a very blessed, happy, eager mother in recovery, who is so ready to be the voice, hands and feet of change in our communities.
Sherelle Graves likes do to all sorts of recreational hobbies such as, beading, arts and crafts, sewing quilts, but lately has been focusing on taking care of her main priorities. They go sledding, swimming, tubing, and attend ceremonies. Sherelle pretty much loves to try new things so if there’s something she hasn’t gotten to try, trust her that it is on her list!
Siearra graduated from Unidale ALC in 2007 as well as a Bank Skills training course in 2009. She is currently a Volunteer Support Parent for Family Voices of Minnesota, a program that matches families of children or youth with special health care needs with an experienced Volunteer Support Parent. She is also a Resident Leader the Frogtown Rondo Action Network (FRAN) as well as an Assistant for the Youth Leadership program Vision In Living Life “Change is Possible” at the Aurora Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. She is a parent of six wonderful including her nephew. Siearra was born in Minneapolis and grew up living in several different foster and group homes all over Minnesota. She is no stranger to the system, she has experienced the hardships of both growing up in the system and battling the system as a parent. Her motto is “Never give up, never give in.”
“My motivation for becoming a PLSP team member is to offer support other parents going through the system. To offer to others what I wish I had during my times of struggle. I believe that each case and situation is unique and everyone deserves to at least one person in their corner to listen and be willing to help.”
My wife Amanda and I have been married for 17 years, we have two children, Mekiah 15, and Skylie 12. I am the FATHER Project Coordinator for Hubbard County, with current group locations in Hubbard, Becker, and Cass County communities. I am also a Certified Community Health Worker, and a licensed Home Visitor with Growing Great Kids. I have worked with over 350 father in our program, and have been involved with many families teaching parenting skills prenatally to three years of age. It is of utmost passion of mine to bring love, compassion, and nurturance to a prominence in the role of families and to help lift of the hopeless, to shine light in the darkness, and help make this world a better place each and every day.
My name is Phethile Kunene. Most people call me Patti. I am originally from South Africa. I am a single mother of two girls. This year will be my 20th year living in the Twin Cities.
I am an advocate for families who experience homelessness. I have been working as a case manager for over 5 years which was mostly spent working primarily with homeless youth. I am very active in my community as I frequently engage in volunteering, current and past volunteering includes Americorps Vista, Africa Classroom Connection,Camus Cupboard and many other community engagement programs.
My concentration in my field of study is Communications because of my love for people and the different ways that people communicate with each other and how that evolves. I have recently completed my Bachelor’s degree Program at Mankato State University in Communication Studies.
I have a passion for young people and as a mother I would like to assist them to be their best and achieve their goals, this means working with their families is vital in order to lessen some of the barriers that they face. Also through personal experience, I am able to relate to and engage with parents such as myself in order to share information and resources.
Misty is a single full time mother of 5 children.Her children are 17,16,10,8 and 5 years of age. Having experienced a lot with the child welfare system & also the Indian child welfare system.Now a parent leader with the MCCC I want to help parents & their children who are going through the system by sharing the things I’ve been through. I am currently the 2017 vice president of the MAHUBE-OTWA policy council. In 2016 worked with the MN Asset Building Coalition on there Leadership Academy. In 2016 I was a participant in the OJJDP’S National girls Initiative. I got to share my story to help girls in the Juvenile Justice system and also help the people who work in the Juvenile Justice figure out a plan. Misty is in involved in her community very dedicated to her children’s extra curricular activities. A member of the School garden club with her children.In her spare time she enjoys working on vehicles with her son. I am determined to be a part of change in the future and to help others find the voice to share their experiences.My experiences are not unique and without the supports and resources i found, it is all to common.
Brian is a single father of a beautiful 4 year old daughter. He is an active member of the Father Project. He enjoys facilitating parenting groups, organizing community events, as well as being a Citizen Father. Brian also enjoys being outdoors doing anything and everything with his daughter at his side. Fishing , hunting, and gardening are all things they enjoy doing together.
Having been adopted himself, Brian understands some of the issues facing children and families in today’s world. His dedication to making a positive impact for all families makes him proud to be in a position to offer help to those in need. “Seeing my daughter using the tools I’ve taught her is my most amazing accomplishment” was Brian’s answer to the question , what makes you the most proud ? That stable foundation is what he brings to the table for this honorable opportunity.
I am Darlane Miller and I have been a resident of rural Minnesota all of my life. I grew up on the North Shore area and currently live in lakes country. I think I was born to advocate; I have three younger siblings, three children, worked in an area school’s Special Education department for 18 years and have always been a voice for those who need one . Stopping abuse and neglect before it starts, I believe, with education. One way to prevent abuse would be to reach out to parents that face challenges and give them different ways to parent their children. Creating less stress and mayhem in a household can make everyone’s life run smoother and be more enjoyable.
Dr. Sheronda Orridge is Owner / Operator of Loving Spirit Holistic Services LLC. She is also a Holistic Life Coach, Holistic Life Coach Trainer, Community Organizer, Spoken Word Artist, Writer, Published Author, Performer, Motivational Speaker, Community Consultant, Community Editor, Certified Doula, Certified TOP Facilitator, Actress, Event Planner, Curriculum Developer, Radio Talk Show Host, Metaphysical Practitioner, and Spiritual Ordain Minster. Dr. Sheronda holds 2 Bachelor’s Degrees one in Metaphysical Theology and the other in Metaphysical Science, a Master’s Degree in Metaphysical Science and a PhD in Holistic Life Coaching from the University of Sedona and is currently working on her second Ph.D. in Relationship Dynamics.
Suzanne is a single parent of 2 children with disabilities. Her daughter Gabby was born medically fragile. Unfortunately, her prognosis was grim and services in the Chicagoland area were limited. She learned about the abundance of opportunities available for children with disabilities in Minnesota, and after investigating, she and her then 2-year old daughter moved to Bloomington, Minnesota. Gabby flourished, attended school and participated in numerous activities with her peers, typical and disabled. Even with numerous diagnoses, she enjoyed life and lived to be 14. Her son is 22 years old and on the Autism Spectrum. He was mainstreamed with supports in the regular education program. He now works full-time as a bus aide in the Bloomington school district. He speaks openly about disabilities; encouraging others to seek help as needed.
Given the complexities of her daughter’s care, Suzanne was unable to work. However, it was important to learn how to parent a child with disabilities. She started her journey by participating in a one-year program for parents and self-advocates. There she learned about every phase of the disability community: the history, how to tell your story, talk to legislatures, and understand the multiple systems. Suzanne became passionate about advocating for children and looked for opportunities where she could voice the parent’s perspective. So, she has devoted the past 21+ years, serving on task forces, committees and councils, on state, county and local levels; mainly dealing with disability issues. She felt honored to work alongside professionals; developing, revising and promoting principles for the fair treatment of all. The best decisions are made when parent’s experiences and personal stories support evidence-based research.
Suzanne majored in Sociology and has spent many years understanding how systems intertwine. Her experience working with families, while respecting their culture and family dynamics has proven successful in in problem-solving situations.
Her hobbies include movies, museums, listening to many genres of music and journaling.
John moved to Minnesota in 2003 to pursue his passion for outdoor recreation in the Quetico-Superior Boundary Waters. A few years later, he responded to the need of several grandchildren for a short-term home by bringing them from Vermont. Eleven years later they are still together and he has learned how to navigate the maze of silos of county and state services. Recognizing a void in volunteers to advocate for health resources for children and adults, he has been an active participant on Regional, State, St. Louis County, Iron Range, and Ely action, advisory, and policy groups.
Aloida believes education is the great equalizer. She has spent her career working with programs and organizations that address issues of social justice, utilizing educational attainment as the vehicle to provide underrepresented individuals and families the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. She believes all students have strengths and are capable of learning. To fortify her capacity with students who learn differently, she is currently pursuing an ADHD Coach Certification. In addition to coaching clients, she is an academic coach and tutor with Venture Academy and she is appreciative of the Volunteer Parent Consultant opportunity with Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. Aloida has one 19 year old son. She continues as a student of meditation and yoga and does her best to practice regularly to help mitigate stress and because it motivates her to live intentionally in the world.