Daniel Heimpel is the president founder of Fostering Media Connections, a national non-profit news organization dedicated to issues facing vulnerable children youth and their families, an educator and an award winning journalist.
He has taught graduate students on the intersection of journalism and child policy at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. In addition, through the Journalism for Social Change Massive Open Online Course, offered on the edX learning platform, Heimpel has trained thousands of students globally.
Heimpel has written and produced stories about vulnerable children for Newsweek, The Los Angeles Daily News, LA Weekly, The Seattle Times, The Oprah Winfrey Network, KPCC and KCRW among many others. This coverage has garnered him journalism awards from the Children’s Advocacy Institute, The Los Angeles Press Club, The North American Resource Center for Child Welfare, The National Association of Social Workers, The Child Welfare League of America and California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth, and The California Social Work Archives among others.
You can contact him at dheimpel@fosteringmediaconnections dot org or follow him on Twitter at @dheimpel.
Victoria Rocha is the Director of Operations at Fostering Media Connections. In this role, Rocha manages operational policies, the budget, and human resources.
She first came to know Fostering Media Connections as a student in Daniel Heimpel’s course on Journalism for Policy Change while earning her Master of Public Administration at the University of Southern California which she completed in 2017. Inspired by her coursework to create change through investigative journalism and the power of storytelling, she was a Journalism for Social Change fellow right after graduation.
Rocha’s professional background is in government and nonprofits including interning in Congress for then-Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, serving in AmeriCorps, NCCC throughout the Midwest and as disaster responder during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill; interning in the Office of Vice President Biden, working as the Deputy Director of Government Relations for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit focused on programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and doing brief special project roles at several local municipalities in California. She completed her undergraduate degree with a triple major in International Affairs, German and Theater in 2009 from the University of Reno, Nevada.
Contact Victoria at victoria@fosteringmediaconnections dot org.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change, FMC’s daily news website covering the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice and other youth-related services. He has been reporting and editing coverage of youth services since 2001, and is passionate about connecting these fields to quality, independent journalism.
Kelly began his journalism career at Youth Today, where he began as an intern and over the course of ten years became managing editor. He helped launch The Chronicle in 2013, and oversees development and planning of the website’s coverage. He also writes Youth Services Insider, a regular column that focuses on national issues and federal policy.
Kelly lives in Detroit with his fiancee Sarah, with whom he also runs a small trivia-writing business. He enjoys crosswords, live music and bicycling.
You can contact him at jkelly@chronicleofsocialchange dot org.
Kim Phagan-Hansel is the managing editor of The Chronicle of Social Change and editor of Fostering Families Today. She has served as the editor of Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today since 2001 and transitioned to the Fostering Media Connections team with the acquisition of the publications in 2017. She is also the editor of two child welfare-related books, The Foster Parenting Toolbox and The Kinship Parenting Toolbox.
In 2014 she was honored with an Angels in Adoption award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. The same year, Fostering Families Today received an Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the publication’s efforts to raise awareness about adoption and the children currently waiting in the foster care system for permanency. In 2012, Adoption Today and Fostering Families Today received a media award from the National Association of Social Workers.
Kim has a bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. Prior to her work covering child welfare issues, she worked for the Longmont Daily Times-Call in Colorado as special sections editor.
Today Kim resides in Wyoming with her husband and two children. When not writing, editing and focusing on the important work of foster parents, she’s busy chauffeuring kids to after school activities and empowering preteens as a Girl Scout leader. She appreciates a good book, time with friends and family, and beautiful days spent in the mountains.
Connect with Kim via email at editor@adoptinfo dot net.
Christie Renick (she/her/hers) is a writer with a background in marketing, communications and graphic design. She holds an MPA from the University of Southern California and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Idaho. She completed her undergraduate studies in sociology and writing at Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college located on the shores of Lake Superior.
Christie became interested in child welfare, and particularly in the experiences of transition-age youth in foster care, because of her mother’s experience as a foster youth aging out of the system in the 1970s. One of her objectives is to tell the stories of foster care in a way that inspires action in people of all backgrounds. She joined the FMC team in 2013, originally reporting on child welfare in Los Angeles and assisting with fundraising and development. She became managing editor in 2015.
Today Christie is FMC’s southwest editor, based in Tucson, Arizona, where she reports on policy and practice primarily in Utah, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. She’s particularly interested in child marriage laws as well as the intersection of child welfare and LGBTQ rights, immigration and American Indian communities.
Find Christie on Instagram and Twitter at @christiejrenick or by email at crenick@fosteringmediaconnections dot org.
Jeremy Loudenback covers child welfare and youth justice for The Chronicle of Social Change. Based in Los Angeles, he is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. Previously the child trauma editor for The Chronicle of Social Change, his work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Atlanta Journal Constitution, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, LA School Report and other publications.
Before he started at The Chronicle of Social Change, he blogged about California politics, worked with public health researchers in South Los Angeles, mentored youth experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles and worked at a daily newspaper. He currently volunteers as an educational rights holder for foster youth in Los Angeles County.
Contact him with tips and ideas at jeremyloudenback@chronicleofsocialchange dot org or on Twitter at @jremylback.
Michael Fitzgerald is the New York-based northeast editor for the Chronicle of Social Change. He oversees the Chronicle’s coverage of that city’s foster care system, one of the largest in the nation, as well as issues related to adoption, juvenile justice, health and education for youth throughout the state and the northeast. In addition to producing and assigning weekly coverage, he is a contributing editor on features and investigative projects for the Chronicle’s national staff.
His reporting on law, politics, and culture for the Chronicle, Pacific Standard, the New Republic, and Outside has been cited and debated in outlets like the New York Times, Politico, Longreads, Reason, and NPR. He previously worked as a senior editor for Pacific Standard, where he wrote and edited in print and online, managed the magazine’s research department, and supported a small team that won two National Magazine Awards in three years, among other accolades. Prior to entering journalism, he completed a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, in Pittsburgh.
Contact Michael at mfitzgerald@chronicleofsocialchange dot org or via Twitter at @mchlftzgrld.
Bryan Curiel is Business Development Manager for Fostering Media Connections, a national news and resource publishing organization focused on impacting vulnerable youth and children and their families. Bryan oversees strategic business partnerships through sponsorships and subscriptions with FMC’s publications: Fostering Families Today, The Chronicle of Social Change and FMC’s Special Issues. Bryan aims to provide these valuable resources to the many foster, kinship, and adoptive communities in all regions of the country and beyond.
Bryan Curiel graduated from Occidental College in LA, where he studied Film/Media Studies and German. Prior to joining Fostering Media Connections in 2015, he worked in Development and External relations for USC Price School of Public Policy and in business development for USC Credit Union. Bryan has combined his passions for film, languages, and music into the founding of Lavida Pictures, his nonfiction video production company. Bryan enjoys putting his creative energy into telling people’s stories and addressing important social issues. In Bryan’s free time you will see him practicing the German and Spanish languages, playing guitar for friends and family, or going on a road trip to visit your town or state.
Contact Bryan at bryan@fosteringmediaconnections dot org or on Twitter at @brylavida.
Sara Tiano is a Los Angeles-based general assignment reporter for The Chronicle of Social Change covering child welfare and juvenile justice. She is passionate about nonprofit journalism and telling stories that have the potential to positively impact the systems that shape our world.
Since 2015, Sara’s reporting has focused on social issues and politics and has been published in WitnessLA, Youth Today, and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, where she served as the executive editor of the school’s multimedia news operation. Her journalism has earned an award from the Los Angeles Press Club.
Prior to her career as a journalist, Sara earned a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu and spends much of her free time playing with food. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and hiking with her 10-year-old mutt, Boo Radley.
Connect with Sara on Twitter at @sara_tiano or via email stiano@chronicleofsocialchange dot org.
BOARD of DIRECTORS
President and Executive Director
Jeffrey Nicolai is an associate in White & Case’s Silicon Valley office and a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Group.
Mr. Nicolai represents corporations and private equity firms in domestic and cross-border public and private mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity transactions, and restructuring.
Lindsay Ellenbogen is a communications professional and an adjunct professor at Fordham University. Most recently, Lindsay worked as public relations manager for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Washington DC. Ellenbogen founded the Sara Start Fund for Foster Youth and serves on the advisory board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Peace Players International.
Kathleen Strottman comes to her role as the Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) after serving for nearly eight years as a trusted advisor to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and then as an associate at Patton Boggs, LLC. As the Senator’s Legislative Director, Kathleen worked to pass legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act, The Medicare Modernization Act, and the Family Court Act. Kathleen is also a regular contributor to Adoption Today magazine.
Jeremy Pelphrey is a partner at Drinker Biddle, where he advises businesses, fiduciaries and funds on a broad range of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and transaction-based matters. He has practiced law at firms in California and Illinois and lectured on labor law at Bradley University.
Pelphrey also serves as counsel to Los-Angeles-based nonprofit United Friends of the Children regarding their health and welfare benefit arrangements. In Peoria, Illinois, he served on the board of trustees and as general counsel to the South Side Office of Concern, which seeks to end homelessness and provide individuals and families with a warm, safe place to live and assistance in achieving their goals.
Aileen Adams has been a leader in government at the local, state and national levels. She served as President Clinton’s appointee heading the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Justice Department; as the Secretary of State and Consumer Services agency in the Cabinet of Governor Davis; and as Deputy Mayor for Strategic Partnerships under Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa. She was the Co-Executive Director of the County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection and helped to prepare their report with recommendations on how to improve the County’s child protection system.
Adams served for many years as the Legal Counsel at UCLA’s Rape Treatment Center, where she co-founded Stuart House, a widely-acclaimed center for sexually abused children. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation, which supports nonprofits in Southern California that serve underserved communities.
Leslie Gilbert-Lurie is a lawyer, philanthropist, and writer whose memoir, Bending Toward the Sun, was published in 2009. She currently co-chairs Human Rights Watch’s Los Angeles Committee. She also is a former president of the Alliance for Children’s Rights and a board member of The Skirball Cultural Center. In addition, she served as Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Welfare, which led to widespread child welfare reform in the county.
Leslie spent much of her early career at NBC, where she oversaw NBC Productions and the Comedy division, co-wrote television episodes, and co-founded an in-house production company, Lurie-Horwits productions. Previously, as a lawyer, Leslie worked at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney and served as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Law Clerk.
Lisa Ling is an award-winning journalist and executive producer/host of CNN’s docu-series THIS IS LIFE. Previously she produced and hosted OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING on the Oprah Winfrey Network. A former host on Barbara Walters’ THE VIEW, Ling has also reported for National Geographic, Time, PBS, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Tara Wilson is a Tax Senior Manager at Gumbiner Savett, Inc. where she provides services including tax compliance, strategic tax planning, financial statement preparation and analysis, and client representation to the IRS and State Departments. Tara has over 10 years of public accounting and taxation experience, with expertise in partnership taxation and real estate investments.
Tara has over five years of experience working with exempt organization accounting, during which time she has become an expert in preparing complex Form 990s and applicable Schedules. She has assisted her clients in the preparation and follow through with applications for tax-exempt status. Tara formerly served on the board of a not-for-profit, the Atlanta Women’s Network, as the Treasurer, where she prepared monthly financial reports and budgets, as well as the annual Form 990.
- Carol Biddle, founder and former CEO, Kinship Center
The Chronicle of Social Change Advisory Council
The Chronicle of Social Change is fortunate to have an advisory council of accomplished professionals who guide the publication’s coverage. The council includes
- Margaret Henry, judge, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles
- Jill Stewart, former managing editor of the LA Weekly
- Wendy Garen, president and CEO of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
- David Sanders, Executive Vice President of Systems Improvement, Casey Family Programs