Staff Spotlights 

Jane Doherty

Office Coordinator, Kinnect

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Jane Doherty has always been in the helping professions. While working in a nursing home in Maryland, she realized she was comfortable working with that population. That led her to get a degree in Gerontology from the California University of Pennsylvania. She served as a volunteer coordinator for a home visiting program for the county agency on aging in Maryland.

 

She also worked at the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at Lutheran Metro Ministries. And along the way, she worked at an adult daycare center where she did everything from planning activities to driving the van. Jane’s diverse work history led her to become a flexible person who wears many hats.

To balance a home and work life with her own young children at home, Jane shifted to providing administrative aid to nonprofits.

“I needed a job with fewer demands,” she explained. “I like support services because I like helping people be organized and making sure things run smoothly.”

Jane served as a program assistant for adult group homes and an administrative assistant for Chaplin Partnership. Before joining Kinnect, Jane served as the HR assistant and facilities liaison for Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP), a program that supports persons with disabilities. Kinnect is Jane’s first experience in the child-serving world. She started as a regional coordinator for OhioKAN before joining the operations side of Kinnect. Jane has seen a lot of changes since she began her work at Kinnect but she doesn’t mind.

“The responsibilities change but the vision is consistent,” she remarked.

Jane’s favorite thing about Kinnect is her co-workers. “Working with good people makes a difference,” she said. “People that I enjoy and appreciate the work they are doing.”

Arlene Jones

Program Manager, Youth Navigator Network

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Arlene Jones can be quiet when you meet her, but when she does speak, her words are action oriented. Arlene’s lived experience with the housing and child welfare systems led to her dedication to improving both.

“I am always looking for the next step forward and the next step up,” she said.

Arlene has been persistent about opening doors for those with lived experience.

“Boards of trustees, Children’s Trust Fund…I did not want anyone making decisions without someone at the table who could bring that realness to it.”

Arlene has a wealth of experience, all aimed at supporting young people and ensuring that their voices are heard, and they have a seat at the table when decisions are made about them. Arlene was a founding member of the Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OHIO YAB), a statewide organization dedicated to being the knowledgeable statewide voice that influences policies and practices that impact youth who have or will experience out-of-home care. She was the foster youth advisor at the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, providing support to bring OHIO YAB to fruition.

Arlene also served as Youth Initiative Specialist with the Coalition on Homelessness & Housing in Ohio, where she worked with young people in Southeast Ohio to identify housing needs and barriers to achieving them in conjunction with child welfare. Along the way, Arlene also served as a children services caseworker and community health worker. Before joining Kinnect as the program manager for the Youth Navigator Network, Arlene most recently served as the urban church ambassador for Careportal, meeting with churches to let them know how to serve their communities through the organization. Arlene also serves as a Senior Family consultant for Capacity Building Center for States, supporting states outside Ohio in building capacity for their federal Performance Improvement Plans as part of their Child and Family Services Review.

What keeps Arlene motivated is not her own lived experience.
“The thing that keeps me going in any role I take is that this is not about me, this is about the young person in care right now. What do they need?”

“The goal is to make the system today better for the youth of tomorrow, and better than it was yesterday.”

Lorie Bricker

Kinnect to Family Coach, SW 

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Lorie Bricker has been involved in human services in several ways. She served for over five years as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA). After a long hiatus during which she worked in another field and started a family, Lorie went back to college to complete her degree in Sociology and Criminology which led her to become a victim advocate with the Riverside Police Department. In that position, along with working with victims and police officers and conducting domestic violence training, she managed the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant.

Eventually, she felt it was time to return to working with children and families. She took her skills to the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities where she served as the housing coordinator. All along, she still followed VOCA funding that she oversaw at the Riverside Police Department with interest. When she saw Kinnect was a recipient of VOCA funding for the Kinnect to Family Program (then called 30 Days to Family), she thought she should find out what it was about. The mission spoke to Lorie because she believes in families.

“Families work. They are like fingerprints…they are unique, with ebb and flow, ridges and swirls...I try to step back and appreciate the uniqueness of each family and I try to empower professionals to value family, to take time to find strengths, and not just focus on the reason for children services involvement. There is always a strength; you have to be willing to look for it.”