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Our Team

Whether your organization or agency is looking for a speaker, a trainer or a project consultant (or all of the above), NCAP can fill that need with one or more of the most-accomplished professionals in their fields. To learn more about our people and services, or to inquire about engaging any of our team members, please contact Adam at: or 617-903-0554.  ​

Adam Pertman

Adam is one of the most highly regarded experts, authors and keynoters in the field of adoption and foster care; he speaks, writes and presents internationally, appears regularly in the media, and has received numerous honors for his work. He served as the chief executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute for over a decade and, previously, was a longtime senior journalist at the Boston Globe. His expertise includes media and communications; program, project and policy development/execution; organizational development; strategic planning; fundraising; and advocacy.

Allison Maxon Davis
Executive Director

Allison Davis Maxon, M.S., LMFT is the Executive Director of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency. She is a nationally recognized expert, trainer, consultant and presenter in the fields of child welfare and children’s mental health, specializing in Attachment, Developmental Trauma and Permanency/Adoption. She and was the foster care consultant for the Paramount Pictures movie Instant Family. Allison was honored in 2017 with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute ‘Angels in Adoption’ award and is the co-author of Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency: A Guide to Promoting Understanding and Healing in Adoption, Foster Care, Kinship Families and Third Party Reproduction, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2019.


Carol’s broad expertise is rooted in decades of organizational leadership and program development in child welfare. She was founder and CEO of Kinship Center, a highly respected nonprofit that achieved a national reputation in adoption, fostering-to-permanency, permanency-competent mental health, adoption wraparound, relative caregiver services, and permanency-focused parent and professional training. Carol is skilled in program and board development, executive coaching, executive search strategies, fundraising and staff/client training. 

Carol J. Bishop, LMFT

Carol is a nationally recognized expert in program leadership, adoption policy and practice, permanency-competent training, post-adoption and mental health services. As co-founder and VP of Kinship Center, she led the development and administration of many programs, as well as children’s mental health clinics and Education Institute. Carol – a former president of the CA Assn of Adoption Agencies – is a skilled trainer, facilitator, program development expert, and permanency policy specialist.

Bruce Boyer, JD

Bruce is a nationally recognized expert in child welfare law who has litigated, taught, consulted and written extensively in the area of child abuse and neglect. In addition to working with NCAP, he serves as Director of the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where his work focuses primarily on issues of child maltreatment. He represents clients in a wide range of proceedings including child welfare, adoption, juvenile delinquency, special education, disability hearings and international child abduction. 

David Brodzinsky, PhD

David, as NCAP’s Research Director, leads its Senior Research Fellows Program along with Adam. David is one of the most respected, accomplished experts in adoption and child welfare, with over three decades of research, scholarly writing, consulting and speaking. He has provided trainings on adoption-related issues throughout the Americas and Europe. He is a Professor Emeritus of Clinical and Developmental Psychology at Rutgers University and was Research Director at the Donaldson Adoption Institute. He is available to consult, train, write or conduct research on a wide variety of topics.

Susan Soonkeum Cox

Susan is one of the most respected and experienced professionals in the field of international adoption and child welfare, a field in which she has worked for over 25 years. As Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Holt International Children’s Services, she is a frequent presenter, trainer and expert witness nationally and internationally. Susan, who was adopted from Korea in 1956, is available to provide consultation and training on a range of policy and program issues relating to Intercountry adoption, race and ethnicity, and best practices.  

C. Lynne Edwards, MSW, LCSW

Lynne is a highly respected clinician, trainer, curriculum writer, policy developer administrator, consultant and advocate. Before joining NCAP, she held senior positions in child welfare in the public and private sectors in Virginia for over four decades. She is an expert practitioner with children and families who utilizes a trauma-informed, strength-based therapeutic approach. Lynne is available as an expert trainer and consultant for professionals, parents and caregivers on numerous topics.

Paul Freese, JD

Paul is a highly accomplished, nationally recognized expert in public interest law. He has served most recently as VP of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest provider of pro bono legal services. Paul also was appointed to the ABA’s Commissions on Youth at Risk and on Homelessness and Poverty. At Public Counsel, he promulgated advocacy programs to empower distressed households, help children and families, humanize the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and prevent and end homelessness. 

Lynn Gabbard, MS

Lynn provides leadership and practice skills in all aspects of pre- and post-adoption work. For over three decades, she has developed curricula and conducted trainings for all types of adoptive families. Lynn, who founded Lutheran Social Services of New England’s Post-Adoption Center, is highly knowledgeable about race and culture in adoptive families, having developed the landmark curriculum "The Multiracial/Multicultural Family Grows Up." She also works extensively with youth and schools.

Valerie Golden, LCSW, CCHP

Valerie brings 25 years of experience in child welfare services, juvenile and adult corrections, probation and women’s recovery services. She has been an adoption and foster care social work specialist, a clinical trainer, and a therapist in Kinship’s adoption and permanency children’s mental health clinic. She has worked internationally and is passionate about cultural competency in mental health services. She also is a minister who works as a prison therapist in California.

Catie Hargove, M.S.

Catie brings experience in leadership, coaching, innovation and culture change, working with executives and teams to improve personal and organizational effectiveness. As a consultant and executive coach – currently with the Partnership for Public Service – she focuses on helping leaders develop and execute leadership and management strategies.Individually or with NCAP’s executives, she is available to train or consult on issues relating to organizational effectiveness, leadership and employee engagement, and to provide individual or group coaching.

Liz Heidler, PhD

Liz is a licensed clinical psychologist whose experience includes work in residential treatment facilities, in a center serving traumatized youth in foster care, and managing a team of mental health professionals in a joint behavioral health and social services clinic. In her current work in a corrections/rehabilitation setting, she sees the negative lifelong impact of untreated attachment, trauma and loss. Liz is available to train and consult on permanency-competent psychology services and interdisciplinary models for post-adoption/permanency care.

Ron Huxley, LMFT

Ron is an expert family therapist with over two decades of experience in cutting-edge research on trauma, adoption and sensory-based therapies. He is a national trainer on adoption and permanency for social workers, therapists, policy-makers and faith-based organizations. He has been a director of community-based mental health and post-adoption mental health clinics for children and families and regularly appears on talk shows and in the news media.

Gregory Manning, PsyD 

Greg is a licensed clinical psychologist who has extensive experience with government, non-profits and mental health agencies, providing intensive case management services on behalf of youth in care and serving as a mental health liaison. He has helped develop and implement innovative programs, and provides training, speaking and consulting on a broad range of topics. He is available to train or consult on child welfare and child mental health issues, community mental health program development and analysis, and case management issues.

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Dee Dee Mascarenas, LMFT

Dee Dee has been working in the mental health field with individuals and families for more than 30 years.  She is a Latina, fluent in both English and Spanish.  As a clinician she has worked with a multi-cultural population addressing such topics as adoption, foster care, trauma, parenting concerns, stress management, anxiety disorders and depression, abuse recovery, grief and loss issues, self-esteem, assertion skills building, cultural diversity and bi-culturation.

Lisa D. Maynard, LMSW, ACSW, RYT

Lisa brings 25 years of experience working with first/birth and adoptive parents, those experiencing infertility, and adopted individuals connecting with their origins. She works from a holistic frame, trauma-sensitive and steeped in yogic philosophy. Lisa is an adoptive parent who co-founded Adoption Resource Network, Inc. and, in addition to her work with NCAP, is Director of Adoption Services at Hillside Children’s Center in NY State. She is available to train and consult on adoption, foster care, trauma, recruitment and placement.

Pat O’Brien, MS, LMSW, LTMN

Pat was the Founder and Executive Director of You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption & Permanency Movement, Inc., a nationally acclaimed advocacy and placement organization. In addition to working with NCAP, he is now a recruiter for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids with Connecticut-based Klingberg Family Centers. Pat is available as a consultant or trainer in areas including advocating for permanent parents for all teens and young adults, utilizing laughter to alleviate stresses, and the power of unconditional commitment.

Cynthia Roe, LCSW

Cindy, a graduate of the Colorado child welfare system, has worked for 25 years as a social worker and clinician, focusing on children and families impacted by abuse, neglect, foster care and adoption. She and her partner adopted two sons from care, and she was found by her biological brother, who had been placed for adoption. Cindy, a psychiatric social worker for Kaiser Permanente, trains and speaks nationally. Previously, she was a therapist and assistant clinical director for Kinship Center and served as a Director of Camp to Belong.

Sharon Kaplan Roszia, MS

Sharon has provided trainings, presentations and other highly regarded work on all aspects of fostering and adoption for several decades, nationally and internationally. In addition to providing direct services to families, she is an accomplished author, educator and organizational consultant on adoption’s lifelong issues and inter-generational impact. Sharon proposed the first clinical training to achieve competency in the field for child placement and mental health professionals. She also was a pioneer in open adoption, and created landmark educational work for developing practice relating to openness, as well as to LGBTQ families in adoption.

Renette Oklewicz 

Renette is a highly respected philanthropic and thought leader who enabled significant progress in the fields of adoption, foster care and child welfare through her senior grant management at the Freddie Mac Foundation for 23 years – including of the highly successful, media-based Wednesday’s Child program. Renette is available to consult and train areas including philanthropy, policy and advocacy, program and initiative development and implementation, and building corporate partnerships.

Laura A. Ornelas, LCSW

Laura specializes in services for young children and diverse families, with a focus on relative caregivers and Latino family systems. She has educated professionals nationwide on best practices and is a contributing curriculum developer and author on the work of her mental health clinics. Laura specializes in permanency-competent mental health services, directs a family service agency at Vista del Mar and, at Kinship Center, developed clinics on attachment-based, experiential techniques that encourage healing through relationships.

Debbie Schugg

Debbie has worked for 30 years with families of at-risk youth and with special needs. She serves as a consultant for families, schools, agencies and treatment facilities to identify trauma-based behaviors, shift culture and language, and provide strategies for helping children heal and families thrive. Seven of her eight children, from culturally diverse backgrounds, were adopted in sibling groups from foster care. She is available to provide training or consulting on a wide variety of topics relating to adoption, permanency, parenting and family challenges.

Gail Johnson Vaughan, MA

Gail is a highly respected leader on policy, practice and advocacy. She is Director Emerita of Families NOW, which she founded, and previously served as Executive Director of Sierra Forever Families. At Families NOW, she pioneered sustainable youth permanency services and developed the first state legislation to address competency training in adoption. Her analysis of savings resulting from the implementation of specialized permanency services resulted in improved practice in California and other states. Gail provides training and consultation to organizations on removing barriers to achieving/sustaining permanency; identifying funding strategies for permanency services; and creating/passing legislation to improve outcomes.

Graham Wright, M.Phil. MSW

Graham offers extensive clinical and program experience. He founded California’s first therapeutic foster and adoption agency, and designed and implemented the state’s wraparound program for families with at-risk children. A past legislative chair and president of the California Assn. of Adoption Agencies, he also designed and maintains the state’s internet matching database system. Graham is available for training and consulting in areas including specialized family recruitment, preparing families for placement, and adoption wraparound.

Graham has been an expert witness in many California courts and several states, on matters of child welfare, adoption, standards of care and the rights of grandparents.

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