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Amy Bates

Amy Bates is the real mom to 12 kids, 2 from the blessing of foster care, 8 through the miracle of adoption and 2 the old fashioned way! Her and her husband have been foster parents for 18 years and have had over 60 children enter their heart and home during that time. Amy has her Masters degree in Special Education and works part-time as a Foster-Adoptive Consultant for Utah Foster Care and part-time for The Family Support Center of Southwestern Utah as an In-Home Supervisor, both of which she loves! In her spare time she enjoys going to the bathroom by herself and trying to keep her monkeys all in a row. 

Susan Goodman, LCSW

Susan has worked for Division of Child and Family Services for 21 years.  Over 19 of those years have been devoted in assisting adoptive parents in understanding and managing the various issues that are inherent with children who have suffered with severe trauma and reactive attachment issues.  Susan has specifically received training from Eric Guy, LSW, in utilizing the Relationship Model, developed by Heather Forbes, LCSW and Brian Post, LCSW.  Susan uses this knowledge combined with information gleaned from Holly Van Gulden, LCSW, in helping adoptive parents understand and work through their own triggers which come up as a result of trying to manage their children’s difficult behaviors. 

Meet Our Speakers

Stefani Ellison

(Angels in Adoption Awardee)

Adoption is Stefani's passion, personally and professionally. She is the adoptive mother to 13 children (soon to be 15), stepmother to 4 more, and has been a foster mother to many others. She began working as the China Specialist for Children’s House International and has been working with them continuously since.

Ginger Healy MSW, LCSW

(Angels in Adoption Awardee)

Ginger received her master’s degree in social work from UNLV in 1999 and began practicing as a licensed clinical social worker in 2001. She has worked as a social worker since 1996 and started working in the adoption field in 2002 after she adopted her son from Romania. She has been with Children's House International for almost 15 years and loves working with adoptive families and children in need all over the world. She started the Iron County Autism Support Group back in 2011 and together with Southern Utah Autism Support Group provides families in Southern Utah support and resources.

Maryanne McFarland, LCSW

Maryanne is an adoptive parent alumni of Children’s House International. Together with her husband she adopted three children, one girl and two boys, from India and later on adopted four more children, one private and three from the Foster Care system. She has worked extensively with child welfare and the foster care system. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provides counseling to children in foster care, adoptive parents, and children who have found permanency through adoption. In addition to working with Children’s House International, she has a private practice. 

Heidi Baxley

Heidi is a certified Prevention Specialist for Southwest Behavioral Health Center in Iron County. She currently facilitates the Personal Empowerment Program, and the Hope for Tomorrow program at 2 local secondary schools, which teach life and coping skills to local youth.  She also coordinates the Iron County Prevention Coalition. Heidi has a degree in Family and Consumer Science Education from Southern Utah University and has been working with youth for over ten years.

David Heaton, LCSW

David Heaton, LCSW has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years. He has provided individual, couples, and group therapy for a wide range of behavioral and relationship issues. David is also experienced in crisis work in clinical and medical settings, and is an adjunct instructor at Southern Utah University in the Family Life & Human Development Program, where he teaches the Values and Ethics course on a regular basis. He runs a private practice and is the Public Information Officer for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. David and his wife Kaprena live in Cedar City with their eight children. 

LoraLynn Jones

LoraLynn Jones, owner of Changing Lives with Energy & Horses, is the Equine Program Director for Havenwood Academy. She is a certified Equine Specialist with 43 yrs. of experience with horses and is certified by International EAGALA. LoraLynn studied Equine Science at Southern Utah University and holds numerous certifications through the State of Utah. Throughout the years, LoraLynn has proven that horses truly mirror a person’s emotions allowing them to safely work through and overcome their negative behaviors, issues and traumas.

Diane Tuft, LCSW

Diane began her social work career working as a caseworker for DCFS in a rural Utah community.  After a couple of years of experience at DCFS, she moved on to further her education.  She graduated from BYU with her Masters of Social Work in 1996.  She has worked as a mental health therapist for the past 21 years, working for ISAT, Central Utah Counseling Center and currently working at Southwest Behavioral Health Center.  Working with children has always been her passion and focus.   Especially children who have experienced trauma and broken attachments.  She participated in the Birth to Five State Grant to specialize in providing mental health services for children under the age of five.  She continues to expand her clinical knowledge by studying TF-CBT, ARC (Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency) Framework and is currently working on becoming certified in EMDR.  She is a member of the Children’s Justice Center Advisory Board.

Lynn Nielsen

Lynn Nielsen grew up in the small town of Kanab, Utah.  Ironically, she has never milked a cow or ridden a horse.  After graduating from Kanab High School with the distinction of being voted "class clown" four year running, she attended SUU and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, with a minor in languages, believing that somehow that combination would make her marketable. She was lucky enough to land a position as a youth and family counselor for the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, where she worked and learned for two years.  She spent the next six years working in Child Protective Services for the State of Utah.  She earned a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Utah State University, and went to work as a middle school counselor in the Iron County School District.  That was 25 years ago. Clearly, she is now old as dirt and should probably be dead by now.

Claire Brown, LCSW

Claire has had a love for adoption for many years. It was the love of adoption that encouraged her to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2007 and has been working as a Therapist at LDS Family Services for the past 10 years, where she specialized in Adoption Services.

Claire Brown, LCSW

Claire has had a love for adoption for many years. It was the love of adoption that encouraged her to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2007 and has been working as a Therapist at LDS Family Services for the past 10 years, where she specialized in Adoption Services.

Linda Reeves, LCSW

Linda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Utah University in 2009 and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Utah in 2014. Linda is passionate about mental health therapy and specializes in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and EMDR trauma focused therapy. Linda’s experience includes working with children, adolescents, and adults. She also works with families to help heal and grow their relationships. Linda has experience in treating Reactive Attachment Disorder, trauma, anxiety disorders, ADHD, mood disorders, grief and loss, and issues with interpersonal functioning and communication. She loves to work with a team to help individuals succeed and enjoys working with clients and their families for the whole person approach.

Oscar Fakahua

Oscar has been able to work with youth in several different facilities throughout Southern Utah, helping them overcome challenges and providing motivational support. He attended Southern Utah University where he earned his degree in Sociology. Oscar also enjoys football and coaching sports. The years he spent as team captain and coach for various teams have influenced his leadership style and helped him become a sought-after motivational speaker. Oscar prides himself in being skilled at recognizing individual student/staff needs and adapting program-wide goals to meet those needs, resulting in enhanced self-esteem and personal student and staff success.

Daphne Solomon, FNP-C

Daphne Solomon received her ADN from Weber State University / Southern Utah University (SUU) cooperative program in 2003 and began her RN career as a staff nurse on the medical/oncology unit at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, UT.  Though her main position was on Med/Onc, she did PRN work in IV Therapy and as a House Supervisor there. In 2008 she earned her BSN at SUU.  She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice, Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner from the University of Utah and FNP certification and licensure in 2013. Daphne’s DNP Scholarly project focused on the development of provider and patient education on the signs, symptoms, and diagnostic criteria for Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  She has been educating future nurses at her Alma Mater, SUU, since 2013. Last July she left SUU and joined the ISU School of Nursing faculty. Her practice as an FNP is in primary care and child abuse. She currently works for Intermountain Healthcare, Primary Children’s Hospital, Safe & Healthy Families and provides exams for children who are victims of or have disclosed physical or sexual abuse.  She is passionate about helping children and families deal with the effects of abuse.  She became a SANE nurse in 2010 and is an active member of the local SANE team. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Utah Nurse Practitioner Association and serves as the President Elect.  Daphne lives in Cedar City, UT with her husband of 32 years. They have 7 children, and 5 grandchildren.  Although she never planned to be an educator it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

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