Forum on Foster Care

May 24, 2018 | Washington, DC

On May 24, 2018, National Review Institute assembled leaders in faith, policy, and government communities to raise awareness, identify key challenges, establish new relationships, and highlight resources and solutions. This was the beginning of a conversation to encourage the faith community to find the most effective way to help children in need. Over the past four years, there has been a spike in the number of children entering in to foster care, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents. Because of this increase, there is a critical need to bridge the gap between faith-based communities and welfare agencies.

National Review Institute was honored to host the top thinkers and leaders of the foster care world including  Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Charmaine Yoest, Randy Hicks, Kathleen Domingo, Lisa Ann Wheeler, Dr. Sharen Ford, Elizabeth Kirk, Sarah Zagorski, Natalie Goodnow, and Alli Donohue. We felt inspired by the speakers who shared their experiences, research, and ideas to improve the foster care experience for children in need. This is only the start of our work on this important issue. Lead by NRI Senior Fellow, Kathryn Jean Lopez we plan to host more events that will build off of this initial forum.

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Kathleen Domingo directs the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Kathleen earned her Master’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC.

Alli Donohue is the Director of Pro Life for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

Sharen Ford is the program director for Focus on the Family’s adoption and orphan care efforts. Previously, Ford worked for child welfare services at the State Department of Human Services where she served as manager for permanency services. She has also taught middle school, high school, adult and remedial education courses.

Natalie Goodnow is a research fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a former research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former fellow at Lutheran Services in America. She received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Randy Hicks is the president and CEO of the Georgia Center for Opportunity and served on the Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law. Hicks earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in theology from Biola University.

Elizabeth Kirk is an independent scholar who writes and speaks on religious freedom and family law with a special interest in adoption. Kirk has clerked for the Honorable Daniel A. Manion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and taught law at Catholic University of America and at Ave Maria School of Law. She served as associate director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture and as a resident fellow at the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is an editor-at-large of National Review and a senior fellow at NRI, where she directs the Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society. She is a nationally syndicated columnist with Andrews McMeel Universal. Lopez has been published by a wide variety of publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, America, Stars and Stripes, The National Catholic Register, and First Things.

His Excellency, The Most Reverend Joseph Naumann serves as Archbishop of Kansas City. The Archbishop is incoming chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities and also sits on the Pro-Life and Communications committees. He serves on the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Board of Trustees and Board of Regents for Conception Seminary. Archbishop Nauman is also chairman of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

Lisa Ann Wheeler is the founder and president of Carmel Communications. She managed marketing and publicity campaigns for The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, YOUCAT, Heaven is For Real, Lent and Advent at Ephesus, Ear of the Heart, Hacksaw Ridge, and I Can Only Imagine. Wheeler also runs the largest special needs and Christmas gift program for children in the Georgia foster care system.

Charmaine Yoest is the Associate Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy at Executive Office of the President, The White House. Previously, she was president and CEO of Americans United for Life, vice president of the Family Research Council, a senior fellow at American Values, and a senior advisor for Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Sarah Zagorski was rescued from abortion and spent nearly eight years in the Louisiana foster care system. In 2012 she graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Bible Studies. Currently Sarah works with Louisiana Right to Life.