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Meet the Presenters for MCC’s Statewide Convening on May 30
Meet the Presenters for MCC’s Statewide Convening on May 30

Get to know the esteemed presenters lined up to speak at MCC's Connected Communities - Thriving Families Statewide Convening in Columbia, Missouri, on May 30. If you still need to RSVP to the convening, fill out this form.

Latosha R. Fowlkes

In 2020, Latosha Fowlkes assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Vincent Home for Children. With her expertise as a visionary, change agent, and strategist, Latosha has successfully revitalized this esteemed 170-year-old organization, which is now recognized as The Core Collective at Saint Vincent (The CC). This rebranding reflects the implementation of an inspiring new vision, mission, strategic plan, and brand, all firmly rooted in the organization’s rich legacy. Latosha, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois and Missouri, brings over 20 years of invaluable service and leadership experience to her position. Since relocating to St. Louis in 2010, she has effectively managed a vast portfolio of over 100+ supportive housing units across the city. As the Chair of the esteemed Children’s Services Coalition Latosha convenes and collaborates with area leaders to ensure a coordinated effort for developing and providing supportive services that reflect best practice in our region. Her dynamic visionary approach, unwavering community connection, and deep commitment to the organization’s mission have earned her a reputation as a compassionate, empowering, and inspirational leader. Latosha is the recipient of the 2023 BJC John Anderson Salute to Excellence in Health Award. During her leisure time, Latosha takes great pleasure in appreciating the beautiful parks within their region, spending time with family, traveling, and exploring new destinations alongside her husband, Captain Javan Fowlkes.

Merideth Rose

Merideth Rose is a champion of children and families, an active civic leader, and a catalyst for strength-based community change throughout metropolitan Kansas City. In July 2022, Merideth was named the second President and CEO of Cornerstones of Care, a behavioral health agency that serves more than 15,000 youth and families across Kansas and Missouri each year. In previous roles Merideth served as the Director of Neighborhood, Family Services, and Caring Communities for the Independence School District, and as the Public Affairs Officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The capstone of her work at FEMA included leading the agency’s largest Community Relations deployment of 1,300 responders in the 2012 aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York. Merideth is a graduate of Park University, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Theory and Human Relations in 2006 and her Master of Public Affairs in 2008. Merideth is also a 2009 Graduate of Mid-America Regional Council’s Leadership Academy for Local Government Executives. She currently serves on several boards and civic organizations, including as a
mayoral appointee to Health Forward Foundation’s Community Advisory Council, as a board member of the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families (MACF), and the Children’s Alliance of Kansas.
Today Merideth says her most treasured accomplishment is being a young girl once broken by trauma, now restored by grace and the power of caring communities. Courageously, she is proud to share her personal story “Reframing Broken” in whatever opportunities she can. As a byproduct of a successful kinship adoption, a domestic violence survivor and thriver from teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and poverty, Merideth finds it both a humbling and transformative experience to uplift hearts and minds to hear that no life story is so far gone or broken, that it is not worthy of healing, restoration and abundant life. Merideth is supported by a blended family including a loving husband, 10 children, three grandchildren, and two ornery canines.

Kristin Devore

Meet Kristin Devore, the Program Coordinator at Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri. With over 16 years dedicated to prevention services, Kristin is a cornerstone in safeguarding families. Her passion lies in empowering families to stay together, employing strengths-based interventions and fostering supportive relationships. Kristin’s commitment to prevention shines through, ensuring a nurturing environment for families and staff alike at Children’s Haven.

Elaine Casteel

Elaine is a passionate advocate for prevention in child welfare and is part of the Children’s Division central office prevention team. Her work includes oversight of Crisis Care, Intensive In-home and Reunification Services Program, Family Centered Services, Temporary Alternative Placement Agreements, and other ancillary prevention efforts. Her team is over the primary prevention efforts across the state, including Team Decision Making and other community and educational and training programs.

Danielle Corley

Danielle Corley was appointed Deputy Director of the Missouri Children’s Division Prevention and Response Team in November 2022. This team includes the prevention programs, the child abuse hotline, and the response programs including investigations, assessments, and family centered services. Danielle’s career has been fueled by a desire to leave situations better than when she found them. She attributes her success in doing this to the simple belief that this work must be done in partnership. Danielle’s professional work and volunteer investments have afforded her the opportunity to see the world of child protection and community responsibility through multiple lenses. During her early years with the Children’s Division, Danielle found herself in a county that was suffering from the methamphetamine crisis when there were no procedures or guidelines for team members. She responded to the crisis by leading the development of a coordinated community response for children, families, and team members. She’s been in rural parts of the state while serving as the Executive Director of a Children’s Advocacy Center for a 10 county region. After an introduction and numerous opportunities to serve an organization in North St. Louis, Danielle was invited to guide them through strategic planning efforts surrounding the care of unhoused and under-resourced community members. While the locations and projects tend to be significantly different, the positive outcomes are reliant on bringing the community experts together to create a way forward. Danielle has served on the Missouri Children’s Justice Act Task Force in the appointed child protection role. She earned a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Central Methodist College and holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Missouri Baptist University.

Joshua Oswald

Joshua is an alumnus of the child welfare system and over recent years has proven to be a faithful advocate for all children, youth and families. He has helped to enact and implement several pieces of major federal and state legislation including an executive order by mobilizing advocates, and leading campaigns to persuade lawmakers to support youth and young adults transitioning out of foster care. August of 2020, he became the first time Youth Engagement Coordinator where he served underneath two Executive Administrations at the Administration for Children and Families (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) at the Children's Bureau. He has served as the Policy Manager and lobbyist for the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy from February 2022 through April 2024. Joshua is currently a therapeutic specialist working on the frontlines to help Hoosier children and families. He plans to continue his advocacy at the local, state, and national level alongside the many other child welfare leaders who work tirelessly to create a better child welfare system.

Victor Sims

Victor Sims, a prominent figure both as an author and as a Senior Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, channels his personal journey through the complexities of foster care into tangible advocacy and support for vulnerable youth across the United States. With his book, "The Day I Stopped Crying," Sims not only shares his own poignant story but also ignites conversations about the systemic issues within the foster care system, sparking a call to action for reform and improvement. Drawing from his firsthand experience of navigating the foster care system, which spanned over a decade before finding permanency through adoption, Sims brings a unique perspective to his role at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. His work within the foundation extends beyond mere advocacy, as he actively implements initiatives aimed at addressing the pressing needs of children and youth in foster care. Notably, Sims has spearheaded efforts to tackle immediate challenges, such as the alarming number of children forced to sleep in offices due to lack of proper placements. Through innovative case management programs and strategic partnerships, Sims has successfully reduced this phenomenon, ensuring that every child has a safe and stable environment to thrive in.

Paula Bibbs-Samuels

For over 25 years, Ms. Bibbs-Samuels has worked with and for children and families, advocating, being a voice, and supporting policy and practice that enhances the whole family, children, parents, kin, and community. Additionally, she serves as a volunteer for the Lubbock Region 1 Parent Support Group and local and state church organizations. Paula is a passionate advocate for parents and families, supporting them in finding their voices through education and training. Ms. Bibbs-Samuels speaks publicly supporting family, parent, and child voices. She speaks to caseworkers and supervisors regarding procedures and creating better relationships with parents and families. She is also available to parents to support and help them navigate the system successfully. Ms. Bibbs-Samuels is a member of the Birth Parent National Network (BPNN), the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, and works to change policy, practices, and procedures to better align with a Family First declaration. She has joined the Thriving Families, Safer Children Phase II as a Lived Experience Expert. Here she continues to bring recognition to areas of systems that continue to operate within the confines of racism. Ms. Bibbs-Samuels is a part of a larger group that desires to expose, address, and eliminate racial disparities within systems serving families and children. Branching from this role, Ms. Bibbs-Samuels was selected to provide input and advocate for families as a Parent Fellow for Texas and is now a part of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and a Family Consultant with Capacity Building Center for States. Ms. Bibbs-Samuels has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and currently is practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). One of Ms. Bibbs-Samuels favorite quotes comes from Rep. John Lewis, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” She takes this quote and puts “feet” to the words, by making “good trouble” for children and families everywhere.

For several years Ms. Bibbs-Samuels has advocated for children and families to be treated equitably and with respect while keeping all parties safe when possible. She volunteers on many levels with the child welfare agency in Texas to collaboratively change policy, practice and procedure to move the needle of change for the betterment of families. Bringing recognition to areas of systems that continue to operate within the confines of racism, exposing and changing is priority number 1. Ms. Bibbs-Samuels enjoys learning, but understands that learning is only the first step in enacting change, therefore she continues to build upon the things learned, while continuously pushing, fighting, and voicing for change racially, ethically, and humanely. Paula Bibbs-Samuels is a licensed professional counselor who strives to bring about healthy change to increase the quality of life of all she encounters.

Adam L. Layne

Treasurer Adam L. Layne has been serving as the City Treasurer since April of 2021 with a vision of having our city and our residents financially fit. Treasurer Layne has grown the city’s investment accounts from $450 million to $760 million, launched programs for financial assistance such as guaranteed basic income, and has investment in technology and downtown parking safety.

Becca Belleville

Becca Belleville is the Guaranteed Basic Income Program Manager for the City of St. Louis serving 540 families with $500/month for 18 months. Becca is interested in collaborating to ensure more GBI programs are created to aid vulnerable populations throughout the State of Missouri. She's also an art and comedy enthusiast.

Shrounda Selivanoff

Shrounda Selivanoff is the Social Service Manager at the Washington State Office of Public Defense Parent Representation Program. She brings a fierce and passionate voice advocating for systemic change for parents and their children involved with the child welfare system. She was previously involved with the system due to tough life challenges. Shrounda's child welfare experience birthed an advocate seeking to destigmatize parents and to elevate the need for our society to value the diversity and uniqueness of families. Shrounda’s work is focused on centering parent perspectives to support their families. Shrounda relentlessly pursues policy and system change toward preserving and strengthening families with a North Star, empowering and valuing parents as partners, and keeping families together. She keenly understands the power and impact of preserving families and the critical need for individual and collective transformation for this to occur. Shrounda has extensive work experience as the Director of Public Policy Children’s Home Society of Washington, King County Parents for Parents Program and other programs such as the Perinatal Treatment Services and the University of Washington Fetal Alcohol Drug Unit Parent-Child Assistance Program. Shrounda is the recipient of the 2023 Shine Your Light Award, 2021 Casey Excellence for Child Award and the 2021 Unsung Hero Award from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families Strengthening Families in partnership with Seattle Child. She is also a member of the Washington State Parent Ally Committee, a founding member of the Birth Parent National Network, Executive Board member of Family Treatment Court of King County, the Co-Chair of the Department of Children, Youth and Families Oversight Board, Co-Chair of the Racial, Equity and Impact Citizen Review Panel and a national consultant serving multiple jurisdictions across the United States. She provides a parent lived experience perspective on the state, local and national platforms, all in pursuit of justice and family preservation.