Meet The Team

Robin Thompson – Executive Director

As Executive Director of ACPA, Robin’s 20 + years of experience in the child welfare system as well as her experience as an adoptive parent will serve her, and all of us at ACPA, very well. She graduated from Shippensburg University with a Masters in Criminal Justice Administration and a BS in Special Education. She resides in Brighton Township with her husband, David, where they are raising their five sons. They have also provided foster care for 17 children over the years. Robin offers a wealth of experience, support and encouragement to our families!

 

 

 

 

Linda Venn – Operations Manager

Linda has been devoted to providing support, information and technical assistance to hundreds of families during her many years in the field of adoption/foster care, and she has offered them a wealth of compassion and information.  Prior to entering the field of adoption many years ago, Linda spent many years working in residential care for troubled youth.  Linda and her family also provided foster care for children between the ages of 12 to 18 over a span of many years.  Her knowledge and experience make her an incredible help to all of us who work here as well.  An Associate’s degree in Accounting adds to the many valuable skills Linda brings to our ministry.  She is married with 2 grown daughters and 4 grandchildren.

 

Sherry Hutchison – Outreach Coordinator

Beginning her career at Adoption Connection, PA in 2006, Sherry’s current role is Outreach Coordinator. Graduating from Slippery Rock University with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation, her love for special needs children originated.  Married for 28 years, Sherry and her husband Mike have four wonderful children.  Actively involved with her church, Sherry is an active member of Chippewa Alliance Church and has served in a variety of ministries. Sherry is an advocate for her daughter who is a CHD survivor, volunteering to help others who are currently going through what their family has been through.  Adding to her blessings, Sherry and her husband have recently become grandparents.  Believing each day is truly a blessing; Sherry feels privileged to have the opportunity to share about adoption & foster care -not only with families but also with the community.

 

 

Jenn Jones – SWAN Supervisor

Jennifer Jones is an experienced social worker with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Mercyhurst College.  She has held various positions in the area of social services through the years, and states that her work with adoptive families and children has definitely been the most rewarding.  Jenn currently supervises the contract caseworkers for Adoption Connection, PA.  She strongly believes in the importance of open, honest communication with her families and everyone she works with benefits from her skills and experience. Jennifer is the proud mother of three children

 

 

 

Holly Newman – SWAN Caseworker

Holly works in the Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN) services division of Adoption Connection, PA. She has a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University and a Masters Degree from Geneva College. Holly has a genuine heart for children.  She has a background as a foster parent and many years of experience working in the human services field. She has also had the opportunity to serve as a Children’s Minister at Christian Assembly Church in Ohioville, where she has been a member for over 15 years. Holly lives in Patterson Township with her husband and daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Vander Plaats – SWAN Caseworker

Kate started her work with the State Wide Adoption Network (SWAN) at Adoption Connection, PA in October 2017. She graduated in 2011 with a bachelors degree in Human Services from Geneva College. She has worked a variety of social work positions including as a case aide and therapeutic support staff. Family is very close to her heart and she is passionate about helping children find a loving home. She lives in Darlington, PA with her husband. 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Urben – Foster Care Supervisor 

Stephanie has been with Adoption Connection, PA since May of 2012.  She received her Undergraduate degree in Human Services through Geneva College and is currently working on her Master’s.  She is the Foster Care Supervisor.  She is passionate about working with children through the foster care system and dedicated to helping families transition and process all the victories and challenges of welcoming foster children into their home.  She has four children of her own and resides in Brighton Township where she is an active member at Four Mile Church in women and adult ministries.  One of her favorite scripture verses is “Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow”.  Isaiah 1:17.  

 

 

 

Heather DiBenedetto- Senior Permanency Specialist

Heather graduated from Geneva College with a BS in Human Services and Missions and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language.  She attributes the adoption of her little brother as to what has ignited her career path.  Heather is currently the Senior Permanency Specialist at Adoption Connection, PA.  During the past six years of her employment with Adoption Connection, PA, she was the matching specialist for three years and a SWAN caseworker for one year, in which she did Child Prep, Child Profiles and CSR.  She continues today assisting with SWAN services.  She is relentless in her pursuit of achieving permanency and loving homes for children.  

 

Mina Needham – Permanency Specialist 

Mina Needham began her career at ACPA just recently in August of 2017. She recently moved with her husband back up North from Orlando, Florida. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Tiffin University in Forensic Psychology and a Master’s Degree from Tiffin University in Higher Education. After college, Mina began working as a Child Protective Investigator in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about the child welfare system and helping children reach permanency. She is expecting her first child in December of 2017.

 

 

 

 

LeAnn Havelock – Permanency Specialist

LeAnn started her career at Adoption Connection PA on August 21, 2017 as a Foster Care Permanency Case Worker. She is originally from Ohio but relocated to Pennsylvania when she accepted the position at ACPA. LeAnn received her Bachelors degree in Communications from Mount Union College in May of 2009. After working in sales and insurance she decided she wanted a career that was meaningful and made a difference in the lives of others. LeAnn became a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate in January 2016. She found that although it can very stressful at times, being a social worker gave her the sense of purpose she was looking for. After becoming a caseworker at Adoption Connection she has decided to go back to school to get her Masters in Social Work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginny Householder – Permanency Specialist

 

Ginny Householder is a Permanency Caseworker at Adoption Connection, PA.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University in Administration of Justice.  Ginny has worked in the drug and alcohol field, supervised at-risk youth at a residential treatment facility, and as a caseworker for the Office of Children, Youth, and Family.  Ginny is passionate about improving the lives of children especially those children with special needs.  She is the founder of  “Craniofacial Cuties”, a group that supports and advocates for children with an array of craniofacial abnormalities.  She was inspired to create this community by her son who courageously faces his craniofacial difference every day.  Ginny resides in Monaca, PA with her husband and her son.  “To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect.  You just have to care.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kris Cole – Permanency Specialist 

Kris Cole is a permanency caseworker for Adoption Connection.  She attended Penn State University and graduated with a BA in English. She is an advocate for children, especially at risk youth. Her mission is to teach children that they are loved and valued, to help them discover their strengths and gifts, and empower them to live that out in their lives. Kris is an active member of New Brighton Christian Assembly Church.  She is a Powersource youth leader and worship arts instructor, at NBCA,  a Trailblazers Ministry after-school program team member, and is the acting coach for the New Brighton High School Musical. Most importantly, she is the mother of her son, Sage, who is attending Atlanta Leadership College.  As Kris ministers to children and youth, she holds on to this promise from God, “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”

                                                                                                                                                                            Psalm  147:3

 

 

 

Erica List – Matching Specialist 

Erica graduated from Robert Morris university in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.  She has served Robert Morris as a softball coach on and off for the past nineteen years, as well as manage her own pitching lessons business.  This career path allowed her to be at home to raise her children.  Now that her children are more independent she feels it was time to embark on a new journey.  She feels that her own life experiences in working with youth will help her tremendously in her new endeavor as Matching Specialist for ACPA.  She is willing and eager to learn all that she can about the Human Service industry.  She is also excited to serve her community and help families and children.  Erica married her college sweetheart, Nate, They reside in Beaver with their three beautiful children.  

 

 

 

Kim Majors – Birth Mother Specialist

Kim has worked in the human service field for 20+ years either as a direct line caseworker or in a management position. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Passionate about improving the well-being of children & families, Kim has experience developing and implementing innovative social service programs, developing, measuring and tracking client outcomes and has been an active member of various quality improvement initiatives. After years of being a single mother, Kim is now married and blessed with a blended family with five children. Kim brings with her a broad range of direct service and development expertise, and we are so fortunate to have her on our team!

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Skvarla – Office Manager

Karen has years of experience working to assist families with their adoption journeys. She takes great care in providing client support & assistance, managing client files and coordinating the agency’s office. She is deeply committed to her work here, and especially to the families we serve. Karen always has a ready smile and a helping hand. Karen lives in Western PA with her husband Dan. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy Smith – Administrative Assistant

Cindy has been with Adoption Connection since the fall of 2016 and recently moved from a Case Aide position into the Administrative Assistant position. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and has held various positions in the work force before taking several years to stay at home as her kids were growing. She lives in Beaver County, has three grown kids and three wonderful grandchildren.

 

 

 
 

 Terry Kordecki – Clerical Assistant

 Previously Terry spent many years in the insurance field and is new to the world of adoption. She is “excited to do her part in any way she can with the adoption process”. Terry lives in New Brighton with her husband, Tony. Together they have 2 grown sons and three precious grandchildren. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanessa Ott – Case Aide

Vanessa Ott just started her work with Adoption Connection, PA in October of 2017 as a case aide. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Slippery Rock University in 2015. She is excited to work for such a great organization, and is enthusiastic for the future.