The New Foster Care (TNFC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based out of Oakland County, launched in 2016. Our focus is to 1) assist young people with experience in foster care to positively change the trajectory of their lives; and 2) positively impact the foster care system that serves them by advocating for innovative programming and policy and legislative reform.
Youth with experience in foster care often face a challenging path to success as they transition to adulthood. We provide direct services to such youth through our 'Bridge Program', a comprehensive transitional support model serving young people ages 14 to 29. Youth enrolled in our program are assigned a Multisystemic Navigator who assists them to develop and implement a sustainable plan for their future success along five transition domains: employment and career, educational opportunity, living situation, community life functioning, and personal effectiveness and wellbeing.
The New Foster Care's mission is to make a transformative change in the Michigan foster care system through making a measurable and meaningful impact in the lives of children who have experienced foster care.
The New Foster Care's vision is to positively CHANGE a child's trajectory, CHANGE their life, CHANGE the system; create a NEW Foster Care.
We desire to improve pathways for young people and to build their foundation of support to increase their sense of self-worth.
Meet our team.
JD | Executive Director
In her role with TNFC, Shannon serves as the Executive Director. She provides trainings to partner agencies, the community and those involved in the child protection system on a variety of topics impacting child welfare cases. Shannon obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1999 and, after engaging in a business career in New York City, she obtained her law degree from the Michigan State University College of Law in 2008.
Shannon began her legal career as a volunteer attorney in the child abuse and neglect division of the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office where she represented parents and children in child abuse and neglect cases. She went on from there to serve as a staff attorney, and later as Executive Director, for The Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, advocating on behalf of parents and caregivers facing legal issues that impacted a child’s entry into, or exit from, foster care.
Shannon brings her experience and zealous and passionate advocacy for those facing the uncertainty that is the child protection system to TNFC’s clients. She works tirelessly to improve the child welfare system from the inside. In her spare time, Shannon is an avid reader, voracious consumer of podcasts, and mother to two cats whom she adopted from the mean streets of Brooklyn.
Associate Executive Director
Hannah received her MA in Rehabilitation Counseling and worked with head trauma survivors providing clinical programming and therapy until she came home to be a stay-at-home mom.
Over the last 13 years, she became passionate about forging change in the area of human trafficking. She adopted the cause as a personal mission having learned about the presence of human trafficking (sex and labor) in her own community. Always an advocate for the underdog, she joined forces with the founders of Hope Against Trafficking and worked to build this nonprofit from conception to successful launch.
In 2020, she was sought after by an organization to help them develop training curriculums for leadership development for global nonprofit leaders and has helped this organization successfully launch its training modules.
She has a passion for helping nonprofits and leaders to create spaces for optimal growth and impact change. She is married with 3 children and enjoys travel, music, wake surfing, horseback riding, and working out.
Director of Operations
For the last 15 years, Nancy has worked with families and community leaders providing support and advocacy to families impacted by Child Welfare and the Court System.
As an advocate for families, she has traveled across the country training both community and state leaders on how to engage families and create supportive services.
She has been an office administrator at heart since she can remember, she takes an immense amount of pride in being a support system to her team. She has worked as Administrator, a Legal Assistant, and a Church Administrator for the past 10 years.
Director of Legal Services
Attorney Elizabeth Hohauser received her undergraduate degree in English Education from Michigan State University in 1993. She taught middle and high school for a few years before starting Law School at the University of Detroit Mercy in 1996. Liz’s son was born during her second year of law school and Liz fondly remembers feeding him graham crackers in the back of the room when childcare options fell through.
Liz graduated from UDM with honors in 1999. Liz’s background in and love for education has found its way into her career, she co-chairs the Law Related Education Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association, and helps to put on a yearly law conference for high school juniors and seniors.
Family is and has always been the most important thing in Liz’s life. She has three children who continue to teach and challenge her to be better than she was yesterday. She is very close with her siblings and parents. In summers, she hosts her nieces and nephews for a week of “cousin camp” at her home. They have campfires and play games and swim in the pool. Cousin camp is one of the highlights of the year for Liz and her family. Liz has 2 dogs, 1 cat and 3 chickens.
Alvin Bates earned his Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business from Western Michigan University. Following his undergraduate studies, Alvin gained valuable experience working at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. This pivotal role allowed him to engage directly with at-risk youth, witnessing firsthand the challenges they faced within the judicial system. It was this experience that ignited Alvin's desire to effect meaningful change and support young individuals who often find themselves entangled in the legal process. His experience at the Juvenile Home fueled his aspiration to attend law school.
Alvin earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Wayne State University Law School. During his time there he developed the skills and knowledge needed to advocate for the rights of young people and work towards preventing their involvement in the judicial system.
With a foundation in Criminal Justice, a grounding in business principles, and a legal education from Wayne State University Law School, Alvin is well-prepared to make an impact in the field of youth advocacy and justice reform. His mission is to be a voice for those who are often marginalized, and work to create a more equitable and compassionate society for the next generation.
Director of Clinical Services
Stacey has Master of Arts in Community Counseling from University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University. Her professional career includes work with at risk youth and their families which includes, fostering the reunification of families in Child Welfare, enhancing personal growth through providing coping skills to manage and maintain daily life functioning. She has promoted individual growth and achievement of youth through enhancing self-esteem, reducing anxiety and depression, school and life stressors.
Stacey has experience in program development, quality assurance, training and performance improvement, conflict resolution, mental/ behavioral health counseling and clinical supervision.
Additionally, Stacey has provided individual, family, and couples therapy utilizing person- centered therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in private practice for several years.
Most commonly you will hear Stacey repeating these quotes to her clients: "Self Care is not Selfish!", "Change can be scary, but you know what's scarier? Allowing Fear to stop you from Growing, Evolving, and Progressing."
~ Mandy Hale.
Director of Financial Operations
Jong has her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Grand Valley State University and has worked as an accountant in the last 10 years in non-profit, marketing, and the automotive industry.
Having worked with the youth in her church for many years, Jong cares about young people and is excited to offer her work skills to help The New Foster Care in their mission to impact the lives of those with foster care experience.
Outside of work, Jong enjoys being outdoors, trying new recipes, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. One of her joys is being “Auntie Ong” to 19 nieces and nephews!
Transition Services Supervisor
Christian Layfield has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. Her professional career has included working with at risk teenagers and young adults. She has spent over 6 years in child welfare assisting these young adults with enhancing their independent living skills to ultimately be self-sufficient once they have aged out of the system.
The most rewarding part of working in this field is witnessing the individuals personal grow from the beginning to end of being in the program, as well as when they finally see how Great they truly are for themselves!
Outside of work, Ms. Layfield enjoys spending quality time with her son, family and friends.
Transition Services Supervisor
Emily obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University. Her professional career has consisted of over three years working in child welfare, with most of her time spent working with teens and young adults in foster care. She supported and assisted these youth with building and strengthening the skills needed to become successful and independent adults.
Emily believes that the most rewarding part of working in this field is when she can witness the youth obtain goals that they once thought were unobtainable.
Outside of work, Emily can be found spending time with her friends, family, and golden retriever Bella!
Fun Fact: Emily loves lacrosse, she played in high school and college and now coaches!
Social Media and Communications Manager
Meet Stephanie, a young woman with a passion for design and social media management. Stephanie’s experience in the design industry began during her time in college, where she majored in Media and Communication Arts. She then went on to work as a freelance designer, creating visual content for various clients in different industries.
In addition to her design work, Stephanie also has experience in social media management. She has managed social media accounts for small businesses, helping them to increase their online presence and engagement.
While Stephanie enjoys creating visually appealing designs and managing social media, she has always felt a strong desire to use her skills to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged populations. She believes that design and social media can be powerful tools for creating positive change.
Community Partnership and Volunteer Manager
Brett has a master's degree in Christian Ministry from Liberty University, and a bachelor's degree in Communications from Madonna University. His professional career includes eight years in Pastoral Ministry primarily serving students in middle school and high school, along with young adults who have just started in college or in their career. His passion is to do everything in his power to come alongside all of the young adults he serves to meet any needs they may have, and to help them build upon their strengths so they can thrive in all that they do. Two of his favorite bible verses that he lives by each day are Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Brett is married and he has a 16-month-old son who brings so much joy to his life. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and all things fitness.
Jodee obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University. She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis from Michigan State University.
Jodee has previous experience working with at-risk youth and has worked with teenagers and young adults who are working to gain their independence. Jodee has also worked with youth who have aged out of the system. She has experience teaching youth life skills and obtaining the needed skills to reach their goals.
Jodee has a passion for working in the field. She loves to see youth and young adults reach their goals and watch them grow as an individual. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and dogs.
Terrance obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Saginaw Valley State University. His professional career has consisted of working with multiple at-risk populations in foster care and adoption, adult mental health and juvenile rehabilitation. He has worked assisting both adults and youth through various growth and development programs emphasizing an outreach of support, leadership, advocacy and education seeking to serve as a pillar of encouragement for those looking to set and accomplish their goals.
He has spent twelve years working in Mental Health and Foster Care all throughout Michigan “Give your best effort, execute and live with the result” Terrance feels this field of work is beneficial due to having the opportunity to have a direct impact on the progressions and successes of those he is fortunate enough to work with. Terrance hopes to coordinate a social life skills mentorship for adults in at-risk groups and communities.
Fun Fact: Terrance loves bowling and participates in between 3-6 bowling leagues per year.
BSW | Transition Navigator
Keeli Lackey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Ferris State University. Her professional career has included work with children, families, and at-risk populations. She has worked assisting teenagers and young adults to learn the importance of setting a grounded foundation for their future regardless of their past or current situation. Sometimes the future can mean a year from now or goal setting for the next week.
She has spent over 15 years in child welfare working in both the foster care and delinquency systems in Wayne County. Ms. Lackey is often found sharing wisdom during speaking engagements and volunteering in the community.
Fun Fact - Ms. Lackey loves old school hip hop and has met over 15 old school rappers.
Meet Sabelle: A global entrepreneur, well-being coach, and passionate advocate for women and children. With a diverse background spanning three continents, Sabelle founded Beautifully Woman LLC, leveraging 25 years of experience to empower women's authenticity.
From corporate success to passionate service through direct sales, Sabelle's journey transformed when she unexpectedly welcomed her third child in 2019. This inspired her to launch the WOW Movement, offering support to mothers and raising awareness about attachment, postpartum well-being, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Enrolled in transformative programs and driven by a love for continuous learning and a passion for books, Sabelle's mission is unwavering: live a life of connection and compassion, nurture women, promote children's well-being, which she believes will ultimately create a happier world. Success for her is making a difference in someone’s life.
Peer Support Specialist
Gabriella Mallory has been an Advocate and Ambassador with The New Foster Care for several years. Her Professional aspiration is to graduate from Wayne State University School of Social Work with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and a concentration on Policy and Legislation.
Gabriella has skills in mentoring, advocacy, and public speaking from both personal and professional experiences.
Gabriella also is a board member with the Michigan Board of Education Policy Action Network.
She describes her current role with The New Foster Care as rewarding; this work allows her to provide assistance and support to young adults while establishing connections with Bridge Participants.
B. Joy Thomas
Joy is an accomplished professional with a passion for assisting and supporting others in reaching their goals. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2007, earning a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. Since then, Joy has accumulated over 15 years of valuable experience in administration and property management, providing crucial support to industry leaders across various sectors.
Joy has a strong desire to make a positive impact on the lives of young adults that have experienced the challenges of the foster care system. As a prior ward herself she understands the obstacles they face firsthand. She believes assisting them navigate their circumstances creates hope for a better future.
In her spare time, Joy enjoys exploring her creative side through writing and reading. She believes that literature and storytelling have the power to inspire and connect people on a deeper level. She also loves spending time with her two children and spouse in nature, enjoying art and roller skating. She can usually be found in the local library’s Manga section appreciating all things Anime.