Speaking of Change - the Power of Community-Centered Program Design - Amara

Speaking of Change – the Power of Community-Centered Program Design

Emcee and Panelist Bios


Deshanna BrownDeshanna Brown is a Treehouse Education Specialist. She is passionate about providing support and resources to youth experiencing foster care, and brings her lived experience and knowledge to help promote positive change in the foster care system. She is also very passionate about DEI work and empowering marginalized groups. She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Criminal Justice and a focus in Juvenile Studies and recently completed her Paralegal certificate at the UW. Deshanna has been working in the Youth Services field for eight years in different capacities, and provides advocacy and support for youth and families involved in the child welfare system and local juvenile courts.


Deborah CollinsDeborah Collins is an Associate Director of Programs-Parent Support at Amara. She has been a social worker in the child welfare field for the past 16 years and has been with Amara for the past 11 years. She has experience with case management and supporting foster families, parents, kinship placements, managing family time visitation services and Amara’s new Family Resource Center. She also has lived experience as a youth in kinship and foster care and was adopted. She believes strong communities are built through strong families – where they have support, resources, collaboration, and are treated with respect and dignity.


Angelique DayAngelique Day, PhD, MSW, is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, and a Faculty Affiliate, at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the UW and is Legislative Director for the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work Policy (CRISP). She is passionate about connecting research to policy in ways that lead to meaningful change. She is a foster care alumni from the Michigan child welfare system, a former child protective services worker (State of Michigan), state lobbyist (where she was tasked with ensuring youth voice inclusion in public policy debates) and a former congressional legislative aid for Congressman Danny K Davis, minority vice chair, Human Resources Subcommittee, Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Day’s personal lived experiences as a former court ward in combination with her a professional experience working in research, policy and practice in the child welfare arena gives Dr. Day a unique lens in which to view the world. She is the evaluation Principal Investigator of four major federal Children’s Bureau grants, one of which is to provide evaluation leadership to the Quality Improvement Center of the Engagement of Youth (QIC-EY). The goal of the QIC EY is to increase youth voice in case and permanency planning decisions.


Terreca DefehrTerreca DeFehr is a parent with lived child welfare experience. She is the Parents for Parents program coordinator for Spokane and Lincoln counties, and is a first-generation Washington State Parent Ally who started the grassroots work in Snohomish County. She is the founder of the Life After/During CPS support group, and currently is the Washington State Parent Ally Committee facilitator, as well as a member of the Birth Parents National Network. Her passion is to continue to model hope by bringing value and lived expertise to the parent experience as a chosen profession and as a transformative community partner. She collaboratively creates generative capacity by elevating parents in leadership to develop new skill sets and enhance well-being. She affirms that when we are unconditionally supported when facing our doubts, we will find our worth.


Ambrosia EberhardtAmbrosia Eberhardt is a parent with over two decades of lived child welfare experience in Spokane Washington and a mother of five. She wears many hats professionally and personally. She is the co-founder of the local grassroots parent-led group called the Spokane Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), a founding member and current board member of the International Parent Advocacy Network (IPAN), and a previous facilitator and current alumni of the Washington State Parent Ally Committee (WSPAC). She is passionate about parent-led work locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally to ensure that families have the resources they need to navigate systems, and have longstanding support and pathways to a brighter future. She took everything she did wrong and flipped them as strengths on a resume and wants to help others turn their trials into triumphs too.


Patricia HaynesPatricia Haynes is a licensed kinship caregiver and serves on Amara’s KinPlus Advisory Council, the Puget Sound Educational Service District Policy Council and is a PTA Member. She and her husband are caregivers to three granddaughters, ages, 16, 7, and 4. Patricia believes they could not have made it without the support and help they receive, and because of this support, she is passionate about working with organizations like Amara that support kinship caregivers. She truly believes that while we may always have traditional fostering, kinship fostering bodes well for kids in terms of less emotional turmoil and a forever home. She believes Amara provides the support that kinship families need, and she wants to be a part of this because it made a difference for her family.


Trey RabunTrey Rabun is the Associate Director of Programs-Kinship Services at Amara. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University and a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois. He later went on to pursue a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington and shortly after graduating began his career at Amara. Trey has held several positions at Amara over the past 12 years including doing direct service work supporting youth in foster care and their caregivers, foster parent recruitment and outreach, and is currently leading Amara’s efforts to create programming focused on supporting kinship families in the child welfare system. Trey manages Amara’s various LGBTQ+ programs including HRC’s All Children, All Families program, and a partnership with Gays with Kids. He has also spoken locally and nationally related to racial equity in child welfare and LGBTQIA+ parenting, Personally, Trey and his husband were foster parents for four years and have a 7-year-old adopted son and a very active Pug.