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Beck Sullivan is the Director of Information Design at The Center. She has extensive experience in the conceptualization and execution of multimedia used for education and training. Ms. Sullivan began her media career in broadcast journalism in North Dakota. She produced radio and television news stories, series, and documentaries that won state and regional awards.

 

Her work has won awards in various national and regional festivals. She has been recognized in particular for her success in bringing the voices of real people—children, victims, caseworkers, law officers—to training videos.

Ms. Sullivan earned an undergraduate Honors degree from The University of North Dakota. She worked for several years in broadcast journalism before returning to school to earn a Master’s of Media Arts from the University of South Carolina.

Brenda AmedeeBrenda Amedee, LMSW, began working at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, as a contract trainer in the 1990s. She trained on topics including alcohol and other drug abuse, foster home licensing, Life Book for adoption, adolescent growth and development, and advanced child maltreatment.  She is currently employed as Training and Development Director involved in the training and development of curricula for foster care and adoption workers as well as foster care/adoptive parents. Brenda’s 15 years of experience in the social work field includes economic services, child protective services, foster care, and interstate compact. She is also a certified adoption investigator. Brenda received both a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism and a master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina.

Caryn Troxler is a Training and Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies.  In this role, she is responsible for conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews for the Department of Social Services.  Prior to her current role, she worked for five years as lead QA consultant for Delmarva Foundation, a subsidiary of Quality Health Strategies.  As an employee of this nationally recognized Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), she coordinated and conducted quality assurance activities for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN), organized QA orientations and trainings for approximately 90 providers of SCDDSN services, and ensured inter-rater reliability among all consultants.


Prior to moving to South Carolina in 2006, she worked for 10 years for the State of Connecticut Department of Disability Services supporting people with special needs residing in community training homes.  Concurrently, she worked as an early childhood consultant for the Child Guidance Clinic of Central Connecticut.  In that capacity, she developed and assisted in the implementation of child-specific and classroom action plans.  These plans aimed to assist community-based early childhood educators with making modifications to their classrooms for children attending these programs after leaving pre-school special education programs.  In addition, she provided technical assistance and conducted QA reviews of early learning centers throughout the state of Connecticut seeking to gain accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She currently holds a BA and MA in community/clinical psychology.

Cindy McKenzie is a Training Development Director I at the Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina. As a Training Development Director, she conducts quality assurance reviews in child welfare for the South Carolina Department of Social Services.  Prior to joining The Center for Child and Family Studies, she worked as a child protective services investigator with Richland County Department of Social Services. Cindy McKenzie holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from South Carolina State University and a master’s degree with honors in counseling from Webster University.

Cynthia Flynn is currently the Interim Associate Director of The Center for Child and Family Studies, as well as the Assistant Director of The Research and Evaluation Division. In this capacity, she coordinates all research, evaluation, and community projects conducted by Center staff and faculty. Cynthia has a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has 30 years of experience working in human service and education programs. Dr. Flynn has conducted research studies in the child welfare field including adoption, education of foster youth, and foster youth placement and has conducted numerous program evaluations in a variety of contexts. She has used both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques to analyze findings.

Debbie Beecken currently serves as a Training and Development Director I at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina.  She has over 19 years of experience working in the child welfare system, most of which was spent in the field of special needs adoption placement and family support. Debbie has also served as a trainer of various curricula provided to youth, foster and adoptive families, DSS staff, and professionals including workshops provided directly to agencies and delivered at professional conferences.  She has been a certified adoption investigator for 17 years.  Debbie received her BA in social work from Columbia College and has a minor in psychology.

Denetra Washington is a Training Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies, where she serves as a quality assurance reviewer and trainer. She has nine years of experience with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, where she worked in foster care, OHAN (Office of Out-of-Home Abuse and Neglect), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Ms. Washington also worked for Community Long Term Care as a case manager for the elderly for four years and at Fort Jackson as the program coordinator of the sexual assault program for four years. She has 13 years of training experience in areas including sexual assault, loss and grief, and domestic violence.

Ms. Washington earned her bachelor’s degree from Benedict College and her master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina. She is a gerontologist, a certified victim advocate, a certified adoption specialist, and a national sexual assault intervention specialist. Her hobbies include singing, travelling, and spending time with family.

Donna L. Privette is a training development director at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina. In this position, she develops curricula and presents training in responding to victims of crime, particularly victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also trains social services caseworkers to work with mandated clients. Ms. Privette received her master of social work in 1988 from the University of South Carolina. She worked as a planner for the South Carolina Department of Social Services and served as the executive director of a private, nonprofit agency, serving victims of sexual assault for nine years prior to joining The Center for Child and Family Studies in 1998.

Vita

Hattie Greene is a Training Development Director and Trainer at The Center for Child and Family Studies. She earned master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of South Carolina.  Her history with the organization includes six years of child protective services and TANF trainings.  For the past two years she has also developed curricula for these two programs. She has presented national and local workshops on the subjects of staff training and child welfare issues.  Her 18 years of work experience in child welfare include social service administration, child abuse/neglect investigation, case management, abuse education/prevention, mentoring, and domestic violence intervention.

Vita

Janel is the program manager for the South Carolina Professional Development Consortium.  Janel was previously employed at the Children’s Law Center where she developed training curricula and materials for child protection and legal staff on implementation of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) and related law and policy.  She has also conducted training programs on the application of MEPA. Janel’s 15 years of experience in child welfare and social work includes adoptions, foster care, group home administration, and sexual trauma counseling. Additionally, she is a certified adoption investigator and volunteers as a teen mentor.  Janel received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Winthrop University in 1994 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina in 1998.

Jennifer WebbJennifer Reid Webb, MA, is the program manager of the Curriculum Development Team at The Center for Child and Family Studies. As such, she supervises the development of curricula and needs assessments and the incorporation of policies and best practices in training design and delivery. She also serves as an editor and writing coach for USC’s College of Social Work faculty and students.
With more than ten years of experience, Mrs. Webb has conducted needs assessments, developed competencies, and designed competency-based training for both face-to-face and online delivery. She has written curricula in the areas of victim services, child protective services, foster care, adoptions, economic services, adult protective services, and end-of-life care. She has also been involved in program design, development, and support. Mrs. Webb completed her master’s degree in English at the University of South Carolina and her bachelor’s degree at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.

Vita

 

Jewel Taylor, MA, BSW, is employed at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, as a Training and Development Director.  In this capacity, she performs quality assurance reviews for the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

Ms. Taylor has over 14 years of experience working as a social worker.  Her professional career history includes working as a child protective service investigator for Richland County Department of Social Services, a bereavement counselor for Palmetto Richland, sexual trauma volunteer advocate, and Sistercare emergency shelter counselor.  She also managed and operated FHL Consulting, which is a leadership mentoring program.

 

Ms. Taylor holds a master’s degree in counseling, and is a certified mediator.  She is also certified in child welfare services; and she has received specialized training in such topics as drugs of abuse, gangs, and nonviolent crisis intervention.

John AllenJohn Allen is a Multimedia Developer with The Center for Child and Family Studies. Prior to state service, John was in the private sector for fifteen years where he handled technical support, case analysis/research, consultations, internet marketing, web design, and Content Management Systems (CMS). John is the Center's Web Administrator and is part of the Information Design division. He develops websites and assists with multimedia and video production. John's interests include video editing, DSLR photography, the web, and graphic design.

Judy Bauer is an administrative assistant in the research, planning, and evaluation division at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina. In this capacity, she performs all administrative tasks for the daily business operation of the division. Her areas of expertise include accounting/travel, data entry, transcribing, word processing, and correspondence. She has seventeen years experience in administrative duties at the University of South Carolina and six years in the private sector. She completed a course in Secretarial Science at Harbarger School of Business in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Loretta Davis, B.A., is an Administrative Assistant at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, where she provides administrative support to the Training Division and is the Administrative Assistant for Training for Foster and Adoptive Parents (TFAP).  Ms. Davis provides training registration customer service assistance, online registration website maintenance and training database maintenance; assists with training materials preparations; and, provides division support as needed.  She has over ten years experience in the private sector and twelve years experience in state government and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Liberal Arts and the Katharine Gibbs School.

Louisa Vann, MPH, CHES, is a research associate at The Center for Child and Family Studies for South Carolina’s National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), a longitudinal federally required data collection of the experiences of youth transitioning out of foster care. She obtained her bachelor of science degree in biology from Wofford College and a master of public health in health promotion, education, and behavior from University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. Mrs. Vann is also a certified health education specialist (CHES) with experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs. Prior to joining CCFS, Mrs. Vann worked with children and adolescents in the healthcare field at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC, and as the program and research coordinator at the USC Pediatric Diabetes and Obesity Institute at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.

Margaret Marter Margaret Marter, Conference Manager at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, manages the logistics for conferences offered to DSS supervisors and workers throughout the state. She received her bachelor’s degree in English/Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and is currently working toward a master of education degree in higher education administration.

Vita

Mary Griddine, LMSW, is a Training Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies. In her role there, she conducts quality assurance reviews in child welfare for the SC Department of Social Services. She also participates in training activities for providers in the Home Again Program sponsored through the SC Department of Health and Human Services.


She is a licensed master level social worker with over 27 years of experience in the areas of child welfare, mental health, and disabilities and special needs. Her experience includes: child abuse/neglect treatment, case management, human services consultant, clinical social worker, and nine years as a program coordinator in services for persons with intellectual disabilities.


She completed her bachelors of science in family and childhood development at Winthrop University (1984), and she earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina (1992).

Mellisa Mathis, MA, BSW, is a Training Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies. Ms. Mathis has fifteen years’ experience in the area of child welfare services.  Prior to coming to the Center, she was a consultant in child protection and preventive services for the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). In this position she provided technical assistance and consultation to the DSS county offices on the interpretation and implementation of federal and state child welfare policies, procedures, and best casework practices. She also assisted with the development and implementation of trainings related to child welfare services to the county staff. Her experience also includes foster care and in-home services case management and case manager for children served under the interstate compact on the placement of children (ICPC) program.

Ms. Mathis is a certified family meditator and previously volunteered with the Columbia Mediation Center. She also completed the Leadership Development Institute at the South Carolina Department of Social Services.  She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Columbia College (1997) and she earned a master’s degree in human behavior and conflict resolution from Columbia College (2005).

Miriam Lovett is a graduate of Columbia College with a double major in psychology and social work.  She has 25 years of experience working in the field with persons with developmental disabilities in various roles and capacities such as the following: establishment and growth of residential homes and programs, day programming,  health facility surveyor with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and quality improvement at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.  In addition, a majority of these years were spent in management with oversight in budgets, supervision of professional staff, supervision of direct care staff and service delivery to those in placements to ensure their quality of life,  and promotion of the growth and independence of clients. Ms. Lovett has also interacted and coordinated with external and referral agencies, and she has provided training to staff on many topics related to their job duties, policies and procedures, quality assurance, abuse and neglect, and regulations regarding client care. In addition, she is involved in the choir and the children’s ministries at her church.

Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, CT, is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Child and Family Studies. Dr. Mitchell is the South Carolina Research Director for the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) federal data collection. Her research specialties include the experiences of children and youth in foster care, life transitions, ambiguity, stress, loss, and coping, social support, cognitive appraisals, and spirituality. Her specific expertise involves informing policy using child-centered research, consulting invested parties in the child welfare system, and designing and developing youth workshops, resource kits, and learning programs that serve children at risk, children in alternative care, and children in need. Dr. Mitchell is certified in thanatology, specializing in bereavement counseling. She is experienced in qualitative and quantitative research, with expertise in hermeneutic phenomenological research.  Findings from her most recent research, The Transitioning into Care Project: Honouring Children’s Lived Experience of the Foster Care Transition, have been published in Child and Family Social Work and Children and Youth Services Review. Dr. Mitchell received bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, a master’s degree in Capacity Building from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in Family Relations and Human Development (with a specialization in child and adolescent development) at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Naomi P. Washington serves as a Training and Development Director for The Center for Child and Family Studies. In this role, she performs quality assurance reviews for the SC Department of Social Services and develops and provides training to other state agencies and partners.

Mrs. Washington received her BA from Columbia College in social work and her MA from Liberty University in human services with a concentration in marriage and family counseling.  Mrs. Washington has experience in child welfare related to child abuse and neglect. She is trained and certified in Child First forensic interviewing with specialized training in topics such as drug abuse, sexual and physical abuse, and domestic violence.

 

Additionally, Mrs. Washington has experience in providing student integrated services, delivery of evidence-based services to children and families, and an extensive background in leading, planning and facilitating the team approach process. She has also served in the capacity of community outreach specialist to promote self-esteem and empowerment through curriculum instruction.

Natrisha Starr currently serves as a Training and Development Director I at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina. In her role there, she conducts quality assurance reviews in child welfare for the SC Department of Social Services. She also serves as a lead in facilitated discussions with different counties as it relates to improving quality casework.

 

Ms. Starr received her BA in social work from Alcorn State University in Mississippi and has a minor in sociology.  She also holds a master’s degree in professional mental health counselling from Webster University.

 

She has over 10 years of experience working as a social worker. The majority of her professional career includes working as a child protective service investigator in Richland County Department of Social Services.  Natrisha has also served as a manager for a nonprofit organization for affordable housing and a case manager for Head start.

Sheila Lilly is the administrative assistant for the Education and Community Initiatives Division at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina. In this capacity, she performs all administrative tasks for the daily business operation of the division. Her areas of expertise include accounting/travel, data entry, word processing, desktop publishing, and Web-page design. She has 17 years’ administrative experience at the University of South Carolina and seventeen years’ experience in the federal government and private sector.

Stephanie Payne began working with The Center for Child and Family Studies in 2012. As a Training and Development Director I, Mrs. Payne is charged with conducting quality assurance reviews of South Carolina Department of Social Services’ (SCDSS) child protective services cases. She also serves as one of the trainers for the Child Welfare Service Basic training course for new child welfare workers at SCDSS. Mrs. Payne has provided quality social work services to some of the most vulnerable populations: children in foster care as a foster care case manager with SCDSS and the criminally insane as a forensic social worker with SC Department of Mental Health. Mrs. Payne is a Licensed Master Social Worker with an exemplary record of serving children and families in South Carolina. Additionally, she is a certified adoption investigator.

Mrs. Payne received her bachelor of art degree in psychology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina. While at the USC, Mrs. Payne was a recipient of the Creating Child Welfare Traineeship, a highly competitive stipend program for students interested in child welfare.

Stephany SmithStephany Smith is the Logistics Coordinator for The Center for Child & Family Studies.  She serves as the logistical coordinator for various projects within The Center’s Quality Assurance Division and Training Division.  She is also responsible for statewide meeting management of trainings and events offered to the South Carolina Department of Social Services employees, partners, and providers.  Stephany has an extensive background in hospitality and management, sales, and new client development. She is a graduate of The University of South Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport and Entertainment Management.

Suzanne Sutphin is a Research Assistant Professor in the Research, Evaluation, and Emerging Community Issues Division. She has a diverse background in research methods including survey research, document analysis, and experimental social psychology. Dr. Sutphin received bachelor degrees in International Studies and Sociology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in Sociology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of South Carolina.

Sylvia Flint, MSPH, is a Training and Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina.  In this position, she is responsible for conducting quality assurance reviews for the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

Mrs. Flint is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) with over fourteen years of experience in planning, monitoring, implementing, and evaluating public health programs.  She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education (1989); Master of Science Degree in Public Health, Health Promotion and Education (1994); and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies (1994) from the University of South Carolina.

Mrs. Flint began her professional career as a Health Educator in 1994 working for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Fairfield County Health Department.  She later transferred to the Sumter County Health Department.  At the SCDHEC Central Office Division of STD/HIV, she served for six years as the South Carolina HIV Prevention Community Planning Group Health Department Co-Chair.  Mrs. Flint also has several years of experience working in the nonprofit arena as an Executive Director for the Women’s Resource Center, Inc., and Training and Replication Coordinator for Communities in Schools of South Carolina, Inc.

TaNeene Walker has worked in the Training and Development Department at The Center for Child and Family Studies since March 2012. Prior to her employment with The Center for Child and Family Studies, Ms. Walker was employed with the Richland County Department of Social Services as a child protective services investigator and with Lucas County Children Services located in Toledo, Ohio as a parent educator, independent living case manager, and treatment case manager.  Ms. Walker earned a BSW from the University of Toledo and an MSW from Eastern Michigan University.

Tiffany Sharperson is a Training and Development Director at The Center for Child and Family Studies. In this capacity, she is responsible for conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews for the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Prior to her current role, she worked as a child protective services treatment case manager at the Department of Social Services, where she effectively and efficiently provided services and ensured the safety and well-being of the county’s most vulnerable population.

Ms. Sharperson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice from Claflin University and a master’s degree in individual and family development from South Carolina State University. She holds certifications and professional experience in the areas of: human development consultant, child welfare, and adult protective services.

Toni Jones, MSW, is a research associate at The Center for Child and Family Studies at the University of South Carolina and the state project coordinator for South Carolina’s National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), a longitudinal federally required data collection of the experiences of youth transitioning out of foster care.  She is also a co-facilitator of SC NYTD Youth Voice, the state youth advisory panel for the NYTD survey. She conducted a five-year evaluation of the Columbia Housing Authority’s Hope VI neighborhood revitalization project for the former public housing development Hendley Homes, and she served as the SC project coordinator for a research study conducted by the University of North Carolina to assess on-the-job safety of youth workers in North and South Carolina.  Ms. Jones received the master of social work degree from the University of South Carolina with a focus on public policy, advocacy, and program development.

Traci K. Gilden currently serves as a Training and Development Director at the Center for Child and Family Studies.  In this role, she is responsible for conducting quality assurance reviews for the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS).  Prior to her current position, she worked as a Program Coordinator in the Title IV-E and foster home licensing unit at SCDSS.  Most of her 22-year career in child welfare was in the private sector – therapeutic foster care.  She trained and managed therapeutic foster parents as well as conducted quality assurance reviews and assessment.  As a Program Analyst with the Governor’s Office, Division of the Continuum of Care, Mrs. Gilden conducted pre and post certification reviews for therapeutic foster care agencies as well as group home agencies.  Mrs. Gilden’s experience includes conducting trainings for foster parents and staff, and she is certified to conduct pre-service trainings for potential foster parents both with SCDSS and private agencies.

 

Mrs. Gilden graduated from Baptist College at Charleston in 1989 with a BS degree in sociology and a minor in speech and communications, where she was a member of the women’s basketball and tennis teams.  Mrs. Gilden serves as the youth ministries coordinator at her church and is involved as a trainer of trainers with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and Positive Parents.  She is also working on training youth in the community on the risks and dangers of pre-marital sex with an emphasis on abstinence.

Wanda D. Barr serves as a Training and Development Director for The Center for Child and Family Studies. In this role, she performs quality assurance reviews for the SC Department of Social Services and develops and provides training to other state agencies and partners.

Ms. Barr received her BSW from South Carolina State University and her MSW from the University of South Carolina.  Her licensures and certifications include being an LMSW and a GCDF (global career development facilitator).  Ms. Barr has over 13 years of experience in child welfare that includes working on both the treatment and prevention ends of the spectrum as related to child abuse and neglect. She served as the state director for a home visitation program that focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Additionally, Ms. Barr has five years of experience in higher education. She served as a counselor at a technical college and provided admission, academic, personal, and crisis services to students. While at the college, she served on the staff council and several other college-wide committees in order to better address the needs of the students, staff, and faculty.

University of South Carolina