About Alliance CaRES
Welcome to the Alliance CaRES community! Caregivers like you are central to providing stability to the children who enter care in Washington every year until they can safely return home.
While you are doing the important work supporting children and families, we are here to support YOU. Foster parents and kinship caregivers are often entering children’s lives at one of their most complicated moments. This journey requires endurance, perseverance and courage, but can yield so many rewards. One of our favorite quotes is, “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”
The Alliance CaRES Program is a partner of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families offering support to caregivers around the state. Our local Mentors are dedicated to working alongside caregivers at every stage of your journey, providing guidance, access to resources, and support groups on specific topics where you can learn and interact with peers. We also offer robust learning opportunities through the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence such as trainings and individual support sessions. We are here to answer your questions and offer help when you need it! We can help you find resources, problem-solve, connect you locally, and offer advice in special areas including Kinship care, caring for LGBTQ+ youth, caring for medically complex youth, and more. Please reach out!
To learn more about what the Alliance CaRES program can offer you and to get to know our team view this recording. You can also read our Quarterly Report to learn about our successes, challenges, and trends or our first Annual Report to get a high level view of all we’ve accomplished this year.
Click to view the one-pager larger and download to share! →
About Our Staff
Meet the CaRES Mentors
Mentors can help you by providing emotional support, sharing their experiences, and connecting you to regional and state resources. They are experienced caregivers who are familiar with the supports and services available in your region. Mentors are also generalists who can help all types of caregivers statewide find the resources and support they need for successful placements. Mentors do not offer legal, medical, or mental health advice.
Click on a region to connect with a local mentor.
View the full list of CaRES Mentors.
Our statewide team oversees the different elements of the CaRES program. We’re here if you have ideas or requests so please reach out!
Jean Brownell is the Program Manager for the Caregiver Retention, Education, and Support Program (CaRES) at the Alliance. She leads the team that supports foster, adoptive, and kin caregivers across Washington State. The CaRES team is dedicated to helping foster parents thrive so they can focus on caring for the children in their homes.
Jean cares deeply about the families who are involved with the dependency system. She began her career recruiting, training, licensing and supporting caregivers for a private agency and continued on to other work in child welfare, including as a supervisor, a manager, an analyst, and as a strategic consultant focused on system reform nationally. She has worked on improving child welfare practices in San Francisco, New York City, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Baltimore, DC, Louisiana, and Washington State. Since 2016, Jean has been the Alliance’s caregiver curriculum developer creating trainings for Washington’s caregivers, including Caregiver Core Training.
Jean graduated with a BA in Comparative Literature from Barnard College and an MSW with a Policy focus from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She loves reading, writing, sunshine, and espresso.
Lead Mentor Coordinator
Shana Burres is the lead mentor coordinator at Alliance CaRES. She oversees the CaRES Mentors and the development and maintenance of the supportive facilitated discussion groups (SFDGs). Her work focuses on connecting people in ways that encourage mutual and ongoing growth.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s of education in educational leadership. Her career in adult learning began with a position as director of a small non-profit and instructor at a local college. These roles eventually transitioned into work as a learning development consultant.
During that time, Shana became a licensed foster parent and joined the work of The Mockingbird Society as a HUB home where she discovered a passion for connecting and supporting foster parents. She joined Alliance CaRES when they launched in March of 2021 and loves the opportunity to continually adapt and improve the ways caregivers engage in support and education through the SFDGs or with CaRES mentors.
When she is not thinking or talking about foster care, she is enjoying time with her family, drinking coffee with friends, or dreaming up the next project or adventure.
Luanne Marshall is the Licensing Coordinator with the Alliance CaRES program. She assists prospective foster parents with the Licensing process as well as offering specialized trainings on various topics.
Luanne has always been drawn to helping others. She started her journey in Social Services right out of high school, working for the Tacoma Rescue Mission Women’s Mental Health facility followed by the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, all while pursuing an Early Childhood Degree, so she could pursue her life’s dream of working with children. She fulfilled that dream by opening her own daycare, becoming an unlicensed relative care provider and a Foster Parent for 25 years, mostly caring for drug impacted, medically fragile infants. She grew her family through Adoption with the placement of her daughter.
Through the years Luanne has been involved in all aspects of Foster Care: training, serving on boards, doing start up projects such as the Transportation/ Supervision program, Liaison program, Recruitment and Retention, the FIRST program, Licensing, working in the Adoption unit and training. To balance out her life Luanne had her own catering/event planning company, hosting many Foster parent and staff appreciation events over the years. She loves any opportunity to plan an event and cook!
Community Engagement Coordinator,
Christa’s role with Alliance CaRES is to coordinate with kinship and foster families, community partners, and local organization—focusing on the west side of the state— to connect families to supports, trainings and each other.
The time spent in kinship care as a youth, started Christa’s awareness for the needs of families within the foster care system and opened her heart to becoming a foster parent. Christa has received support and encouragement from many during her foster/adoptive mom journey. She is honored to be able to help others as they navigate the system.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s of education in adult and continuing education. She has spent her career in the nonprofit sector most recently supporting professional development of child care providers across the state. This work has given her a strong foundation in collaborating with local communities to build support systems. Christa has written several articles on supporting foster children in child care.
Her family spends much of their time outdoors or cozily tucked inside reading.
Community Engagement Coordinator,
Angela has been a foster parent for nine years and adopted three children. She has been involved in all aspects of foster care and has strong connections in the foster care community in Eastern Washington. As the Community Engagement Coordinator for Eastern Washington, Angela looks forward to continuing to build vital caregiver supports through strategic community partnerships.
In her previous work as a foster parent mentor for 5 years, she enjoyed working with families to find solutions and she plans to use that knowledge in her new role. Angela has a heart for seeing foster parents have the tools and support they need to navigate the system and her areas of expertise include adoption, communicating with DCYF and trauma focused care. She chooses foster care because children can never have too many people who love them.
Specialists can help caregivers by providing emotional support, sharing their experiences, and connecting them to resources. They have an area of dedicated knowledge that may be especially important for a caregiver looking for understanding. Specialists do not offer legal, medical, or mental health advice.
CaRES Specialist: Native Children
Alaina Capoeman-Davis is a citizen of the Quinault Nation, her tribal name is Xoputsée, Alaina attended The Evergreen State College, graduating with a Bachelors of Liberal Arts in 2005 with an emphasis on Indian Child Welfare. She has worked for three tribes as a Child Protection Services Investigator, Family Services Caseworker, Foster Parent Licensor, Permanency Planning, Adult Protection Services, and Individual Indian Monies Case Worker and Department Manager. She has testified in state court and tribal courts. She was a relative placement for several children.
Alaina enjoys reading, hiking, making regalia, dancing, hunting, canoe pulling, spending time with her family and cheering on the Seahawks.
Sarah Rachael Edwards-Strode
CaRES Specialist: Medically Complex Children
Sarah and her husband David have been licensed foster parents for 13 years. Before changing her career goals to nursing, Sarah was a ballet director for 20 years. While originally the Strode’s were focused on caring for drug affected infants, their focus morphed into a focus and advocacy for medically complex foster children. The Strode’s have 7 children , 2 biological, 4 adopted through foster care, and currently one foster child. Sarah has a passion for advocating for the unseen and unheard. She specializes in burn survivor care as well as caring for those with intellectual and chronic illnesses and diagnosis. Sarah is thrilled to be part of Alliance CaRES and working along side other families wanting to care for the medically fragile foster child.
Francisco Javier Contreras Alvarez
CaRES Specialist: Spanish Speaking Community
Francisco tiene su licencia como padre de crianza. Francisco y su pareja han acogido a más de 13 niños y jóvenes en su hogar y actualmente están acogiendo a un niño de 14 años por aproximadamente 2 años. Francisco obtuvo su Licenciatura en Servicios Humanos y una especialización en español de la Western Washington University. Francisco actualmente ocupa el puesto de administrador de casos, lo que aporta habilidades y conocimientos al trabajar con y para las familias al brindarles apoyo y recursos para ayudarlos a alcanzar sus metas y satisfacer sus necesidades. Francisco también es voluntario del Foster Closet en Bellingham desde 2018 y se desempeña como miembro de la junta directiva de Fosters Hearts, una organización que se esfuerza por mejorar la vida de los niños en hogares de crianza, asegurando que cada niño tenga sus necesidades básicas satisfechas y brindando mejoras para la vida. oportunidades. A Francisco le apasiona apoyar y defender las comunidades marginadas y subrepresentadas donde las familias y los niños de estas comunidades pueden alcanzar su potencial proporcionando recursos para promover el conocimiento y la educación de la comunidad.
Francisco is currently a licensed foster parent. Francisco and his partner have fostered over 13 children and youth in their home and are currently fostering a 14 yr old boy for about 2 years now. Francisco obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with a minor in Spanish from Western Washington University. Francisco currently holds the position as case manager which brings skills and knowledge working with and for families by supporting and providing sources to help them reach their goals and meet their needs. Francisco is also a volunteer for the Foster Closet in Bellingham since 2018 and serves as a board member of Fosters Hearts, an organization that strives to improve the lives of children in foster care, ensuring each child has their basic needs met and providing life-enhancing opportunities. Francisco is passionate about supporting and advocating for marginalized and underrepresented communities where families and children from these communities can reach their potential by providing resources to further the knowledge and education of the community.
Dr. Emmanuel Camarillo
CaRES Specialist: Spanish Speaking Community
El Dr. Emmanuel Camarillo tiene un doctorado en Liderazgo Educacional de la Universidad de Washington Tacoma. Su investigación se centró en comprender la conexión entre la capacitación que reciben los padres de cuidado de crianza terapéuticos y la interrupción de la colocación de niños en los hogares de los padres de cuidado de crianza. Además, su investigación proporcionó recomendaciones a las agencias de cuidado de crianza que buscan retener a padres de cuidado de crianza calificados y aumentar la calidad y estabilidad de la experiencia de los niños en programas terapéuticos de cuidado de crianza. Antes de trabajar en bienestar infantil, Emmanuel trabajó en la educación superior durante seis años. Emmanuel y su prometido, Francisco, han sido padres de cuidado de crianza durante los últimos tres años. Emmanuel ha sido voluntario en The Foster Closet en Bellingham desde 2018. También se desempeña como miembro de la junta directiva de Foster Hearts, una organización que se esfuerza por mejorar las vidas de los niños en cuidado de crianza, asegurando que cada niño tenga sus necesidades básicas satisfechas y brindando oportunidades para mejorar la vida. Más recientemente, Emmanuel fue seleccionado como representante de la Región 3 de 1624 para servir como enlace entre los proveedores cuidado y el Departamento de Ninos, Adolecentes y la Familia (DCYF).
Dr. Emmanuel Camarillo holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Washington Tacoma. His research focused on understanding the connection between the training that therapeutic foster parents receive and placement disruption. In addition, his research provided recommendations to foster care agencies looking to retain skilled foster parents and increase the quality and stability of children’s experience in therapeutic foster care programs. Prior to working in child welfare, Emmanuel worked in higher education for six years. Emmanuel and his fiance Francisco have been foster parents for the last three years. He has volunteered at The Foster Closet in Bellingham since 2018. He also serves as a board member of Foster Hearts, an organization that strives to improve the lives of children in foster care, ensuring each child has their basic needs met and providing life-enhancing opportunities. Most recently, Emmanuel was selected as a 1624 Region 3 representative to serve as a liaison between caregivers and DCYF.
CaRES Specialist: Kinship
Amara CaRES Program Retention & Support Specialist
Brittney Lee experienced 17 foster homes in the span of 17 years of her childhood. Brittney’s current aspiration is to utilize her growth and knowledge gained from resilience, community involvement and employment opportunities with youth who have experienced foster care. She consistently involves herself in community conversations on child welfare and engages in opportunities where she can increase her understanding on how to best leverage her experience and meet her goals. One of those major goals is to become more educated on the subject of racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. Brittney hopes to work from the inside to come up with simple solutions to counteract racial inequality and institutionalized, structural racism that affects all youth in foster care today. Having grown up living with other children in the system from various backgrounds and at all kinds of emotional, mental and spiritual levels, Brittney has unconditional compassion in her heart to give back to the youth in the communities similar to those in which she grew up in as well as on a national and global level. She wishes to be a role model and source of support to youth experiencing foster care; to help them navigate all of the ups and downs; to be the someone that Brittney needed when she was younger.
CaRES Specialist: LGBTQAI+ Children and Families
Amara CaRES Program Manager
Trey is the Associate Director of Kinship and Community Services at Amara. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University, a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois, and soon after graduating with his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington in 2011 Trey begun his career at Amara. Trey has held several positions at Amara over the past 10 years including doing direct service work supporting youth in foster care and their caregivers, foster parent recruitment and outreach, and currently is leading Amara’s efforts to create programming focused on supporting kinship families in the child welfare system. He also manages Amara’s various LGBTQ+ programs including a partnership with Gays with Kids and current member of DCYF’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Group. Personally, Trey and his husband were foster parents for four years and have a 6-year-old adopted son.
Robin Blomster is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in journalism, marketing and digital content. She works with both CaRES and the Alliance helping tell the important stories of caregivers.
Charissa joined the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence in September 2021. As the event planner, she helps to lead the efforts in communicating with key speakers and executing virtual conferences. Charissa has a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Massachusetts Lowell and a certification in Professional Technical Writing from the University of Washington. Charissa is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived in Seattle for almost 8 years.
Charissa is a lover of coffee, houseplant parenthood, HIIT workouts, and playing with her cat. She is often exploring the PNW and supports the local Seattle scene.
Melissa Becker joined Partners for Our Children in 2021 as a Research Consultant for the Alliance Evaluation team, with a background in family support, program evaluation and research, and early learning systems. She most recently worked on a multi-state project to improve pre-k programs and systems through research, evaluation, and continuous quality improvement processes. Melissa received her B.A. in Psychology from Macalester College, and her MSW from the University of Washington School of Social Work. Her research interests include child development, support for parents and families with young children, early learning, program evaluation, and child welfare practice and policy.
Connect with Us!
Reach out via email email@example.com or give us a call 206-221-4913. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!