2022 Resource Parent of the Year
Resource Parent of the Year Awards
Congrats to Anna Stewart, our Allegany County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! Anna volunteered to be a kinship provider when her nephew entered foster care. Since then, Anna has opened her home to other children experiencing foster care.
Anna understands the importance of maintaining children’s familial connections and helps them strengthen those relationships. As a teacher, she prioritizes that each child is thriving and engaged in their school environment and extracurricular activities. In the past 17 months, Anna has had four older youth join her family and has assisted with their transition. She also helps the agency by providing several children emergency respite.
Thank you, Anna, for all you do!
Esther and Hooverlay Rodas
Anne Arundel County
Congrats to Esther and Hooverlay Rodas, our Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! Esther and Hooverlay were approved in April 2020 to become resource parents. They have cared for two children during that time, both of whom still resides with them.
The Rodas family has been able to create strong, healthy relationships with biological families and continue to support reunification efforts. The first child placed with the family is a young girl who is part of a sibling group. At times, they’ve provided respite for the siblings and connected with other foster families to orchestrate regular sibling visits. They’ve also included the biological family every step of the way regarding the child’s health, treatment, and well-being. The second child placed with them is another young girl who only speaks Spanish. Mr. Rodas speaks Spanish and can communicate with this child in her language to make her feel comfortable and understood.
The Rodas family goes above and beyond to maintain biological family connections. Outside of serving as resource parents, the family also cares for their grandson. The Rodas truly exemplify this year’s National Foster Care Month theme of “Relative and Kin Connections Keep Families Strong.”
Tayvon Givens and Linea Coleman
Congrats to Tayvon Givens and Linea Coleman, our Baltimore City Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! Mr. Givens and Mrs. Coleman are a married couple with four children. They have opened their hearts and home to a youth they call “the apple of their eye.”
Tayvon and Linea have taken a keen interest in nurturing the growth and development of the youth in their care. They actively look for social, educational, and recreational opportunities for her to experience. They also prioritize ensuring she knows her value and self-worth. We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Givens and Mrs. Coleman for their heartfelt commitment to the young person in their care.
Taeleya Taylor and Larry Bailey Jr.
Congrats to Taeleya Taylor and Larry Bailey Jr., our Baltimore City Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! The family is caring for Larry’s three nephews, who are all under ten years old.
The sibling group entered the couple’s home in June 2020. Taeleya and Larry were already raising two boys of their own in a multi-generational household. The sibling group has acclimated well to the Taylor/Bailey home and continues to be engaged in school, therapeutic, and recreational activities. Taeleya and Larry are awaiting custody and guardianship of the siblings.
We wholeheartedly thank Taeleya and Larry for all they do to improve the lives of the children in their care.
Lauren and Donald Wenzel
Congrats to Lauren and Donald Wenzel, our Baltimore County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! Lauren and Don have been Resource Parents since October 2018.
The Wenzels go above and beyond expectations in supporting the children in their care, always prioritizing educational and enriching experiences. The family is committed to ensuring the children maintain essential relationships with their biological families. They include the children’s family of origin in playdates, birthday parties, and numerous video calls. The children enjoy these connections, and facilitating them has made their attachment to the Wenzels stronger.
We are fortunate to work alongside these dedicated, loving, and hardworking parents. Thank you, Lauren and Don, for all you do!
Amanda and Bryan Jones
Congrats to Amanda and Bryan Jones, our Calvert County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! Amanda and Bryan have been Resource Parents for two years. Since that time, they’ve had two young children placed in their care.
Because the children are from different families, Amanda and Bryan have made time for separate weekly visits and often communicate with the biological parents. They ensure that both families are up-to-date on each child’s developmental milestones, celebrations, and holidays.
One of the children has had a permanency plan change to adoption. Amanda and Bryan have agreed to maintain visitation with the child’s biological parents. The Jones family has invited the parents to their home and has established a routine that supports lifetime connections.
We thank Amanda and Bryan for offering words of encouragement, guidance, and collaboration to the children in their care and their biological families.
Amanda and Fernando Meneses
Congrats to Amanda and Fernando Meneses, our Carroll County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
Amanda and Fernando have gracefully accepted all challenges they’ve encountered. They’ve maintained a safe and stable environment for children while celebrating their diversities and embracing their cultures in the home. The Meneses family has created a flexible, accepting, and nurturing home to ensure the children in their care flourish.
We thank Amanda and Fernando for opening their hearts and home and for all they do!
Congrats to Don Bartlett, our Cecil County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! Don has cared for a teenager for only a short time. Still, his nurturing has resulted in very positive changes for this youth. She is visibly happier, has a sense of belonging, is much more positive, and strives to do well academically.
Don has taken the time to sit, talk, and guide the youth in his care. He also ensures that she sees her biological family. Don also allowed her older sister, who is also in foster care, to stay with them for three days around Christmas so the girls could spend time together. After this visit, Don advocated for her sister regarding future placements and her well-being.
It is evident that Don truly cares about the children in his home and goes above and beyond to ensure they are thriving. Thank you, Don, for all you do!
Congrats to Michele Deadwyler, our Charles County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year
Michele’s fostering experiences have included caring for children with significant trauma-related behaviors and psychological, academic, and medical challenges. She has also cared for a newborn infant that joined her home immediately after being discharged from the hospital.
Michele does exceptionally well in supporting reunification efforts, meeting children’s developmental needs, addressing developmental delays, and strengthening family connections. She consistently maintains contact with the agency to provide progress reports and feedback, express concerns, and ask for assistance. Michele has even helped maintain relationships with children and their birth families even after being reunified. It’s an honor to celebrate Michele for all she does!
Kerry and Walter “Denny” Todd
Congrats to Kerry and Walter “Denny” Todd, our Dorchester County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
Kerry and Denny have been foster parents for a little over a year. They dove into being foster parents head first and have always been willing to welcome any child that needs a home. The Todds genuinely want to help the community as much as possible. They are skilled at including birth families and developing working relationships with all members of the child’s team.
Kerry and Denny have also helped in recruitment efforts for new foster parents through their church. Kerry participated in the PRIDE training panel and did an excellent job at giving upcoming foster/adoptive parents advice and realistic expectations. Kerry, Denny, and their children have also kept in touch with children who have left their home. Thank you, Kerry and Denny, for making such a positive impact on the children in your care!
Congrats to Theresa Walker, our Frederick County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year!
Theresa has been a licensed resource parent for over three years. Her resource parent journey began with a sibling group of two girls to whom she provided love, support, and care for more than two years. Despite many challenges, she formed supportive and trusting relationships with their birth parents, extended family, and their now adoptive family.
This past year she has been caring for a young toddler while supporting and strengthening a connection with his birth mom as she works toward reunification. As a single parent, Theresa has always been steadfast in ensuring that she meets each child’s needs through specific services and interventions. She has not only been their best advocate but has built rapport and trust with families. Thank you, Theresa, for all you do!
Amanda and John McEwan
Congrats to Amanda and John McEwan, our Garrett County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
Mandy and John have enormous hearts and desire to keep siblings and families connected. In addition to John’s two biological children residing in the home, the McEwans have taken guardianship of four children and have adopted one. These children are nieces and nephews to the couple and half-siblings to those nieces and nephews. They have also cared for children with no blood relation to them and have embraced them as their own.
It is evident the McEwans strive to provide the best love and care for the children in their home. They have been able to keep many family connections with the extended family of all the children in their home while maintaining safety, stability, permanency, and love. We thank the McEwans for all they do!
Mike and Manda Barry
Congrats to Mike and Manda Barry, our Harford County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
The Barrys became licensed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have welcomed five children into their home, almost on a back-to-back basis. Four of these children have achieved reunification with family members. All four children have reunified with either a grandparent or the previously noncustodial parent. The Barrys have supported these children and families by supporting the growth of their connections. The Barrys have facilitated phone and Facetime calls and in-person visits to family members on the weekends.
Because of how the Barrys have connected and supported these children and their families, they have been able to remain involved in the children’s lives. As a natural result of their rapport, the families have asked the Barrys to care for the children when traveling and invited them to birthday parties.
We are proud to work with Mike and Manda and are so grateful for all they do!
Congrats to Tashia Tillet, our Howard County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! Tashia cares for her two grandchildren. Over the years, she has balanced supporting her oldest daughter with mental health challenges while also providing a safe, nurturing home environment for her grandchildren.
Additionally, Tashia continues to foster and support a healthy relationship with the paternal side of the family for one of her grandchildren. She has demonstrated how essential kin connections are for children in foster care and being a permanent resource if reunification is not successful.
Thank you, Tashia, for all you do to ensure your grandchildren are healthy, happy, and thriving!
Annelieke and David Walbert
Congrats to Annelieke and David Walbert, our Kent County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
The Walberts have served four years as Resource Parents. They demonstrate a proper understanding of how important it is to cultivate and maintain connections between foster youth and their kin/relatives.
Annelieke and David have encouraged and supported their child’s relationship with her grandparent and siblings. They allow relative visits in their home and facilitate contact via phone and virtually. This contact enables the youth in their care to maintain bonds with her biological family, which has supported her sense of identity and culture. The Walberts have also shown a willingness to enhance their knowledge related to these issues through participation in educational opportunities.
We are so thankful for Annelieke and David and their dedication to improving the lives and well-being of children and youth!
Chris and Jason Plummer
Congrats to Chris and Jason Plummer, our Montgomery County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
The Plummers are a wonderful and loving family with a natural ability to provide children with stability and a sense of belonging from the moment they come into their home. Chris and Jason became licensed foster parents in October 2017. Over the past four years, they have had over 40 youth placed with them. They are frequently on the emergency list and have never turned away a child, teen, or young adult in need.
Since becoming licensed, they have been instrumental in supporting six families to achieve reunification and have also helped several young adults transition successfully to independence. In 2020, they also adopted their son, now age 3. Their commitment to fostering extends beyond the walls of their home. Both Chris and Jason are members of the Foster Parent Association (FPA) Executive Board. Chris serves as the president and Jason as the treasurer. Through their work with the FPA, they have served as a liaison between foster parents and the Department. They have also created support systems for foster parents and youth and developed partnerships with external organizations to build community support.
We are so thankful for Chris and Jason and their dedication to improving the lives and well-being of children and youth!
Prince George’s County
Congrats to Lynn Sutton, our Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! Lynn has been a Resource Parent since 2015. In that time, she has provided a loving and safe home for children and support to their birth families.
Although Lynn has provided a temporary safe haven to children of all ages, she sees herself as a constant role model and champion for teen girls. Lynn has shown her commitment to this population by accepting youth into her home and creating an environment they feel accepted and understood. She gives them the benefit of her wisdom and life experiences. Lynn believes in making sure the girls see themselves as important and valuable people. She provides excellent care and support for the youth entrusted to her care.
Lynn understands the goal and importance of reunification and strives to help families stay connected to their children while they are in her home. Thank you, Lynn, for all you do!
Queen Anne’s County
Congrats to Teresa Holley, our Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! Teresa fully embodies what we look for and appreciate in a foster parent. She provides loving care to children who need a safe, nurturing home. That can be one night or two years, and Teresa’s answer is almost always, “yes, I can do that,” time and time again.
Teresa has provided a temporary home for many children who have needed short-term placement or respite care. She has also been a patient and nurturing parent to the child who is currently with her long-term. Teresa is accepting, accommodating, and understanding to birth families during the reunification process and truly compassionate to their concerns. She has been a Resource Parent for two years and is already a vital partner for the agency.
We thank Teresa for her steadfast dedication to improving the lives of children!
St. Mary’s County
Congrats to Kevin Cioppa, our St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year! In 2020, Kevin became a father to two siblings, currently ages 7 and 8, after they had moved multiple times during their first two years in foster care. As Kevin and the children became a family, adoption became a possibility.
Throughout the twists and turns of the case, Kevin remained committed to the children and whatever was in their best interest, prioritizing their well-being. He has remained open to facilitating a safe and healthy relationship between the children and their biological father. In addition, Kevin facilitates regular family time between the two children and their older sibling, who resides with another resource family.
Kevin is an excellent representation of a committed and compassionate resource parent. He is a patient, caring, and entirely devoted father who works as a team with the Department. Kevin has provided the children with many new experiences and has bonded with them over a shared love of sports. He has demonstrated that he can successfully care for and nurture two young children as a single parent. We are proud to work alongside Kevin. Thank you for all you do!
Larry and Amanda Eberly
Congrats to Larry and Amanda Eberly, our Somerset County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! Larry and Amanda have served four years as licensed resource parents. The couple accepted a “Safe Haven” baby emergently during the pandemic and did not hesitate to consider long-term placement and adoption.
The Eberlys adopted their child just over a year later, in December 2021. They have provided him with a forever home filled with love, nurturing, and warmth. We thank the Eberly family for opening their hearts and home to a child in need. Congratulations on your forever family!
Congrats to Meaghan Davis, our Talbot County Department of Social Services Resource Parent of the Year!
In the past year, Meaghan has demonstrated exceptional service to the county’s most vulnerable children. She has provided respite care for a medically fragile youth on multiple occasions and for older youth who have been challenging to place. Meaghan has also assisted with transporting youth of other households, and she has provided exceptional care for a substance-exposed newborn.
Meaghan’s work with the biological family of the newborn has exceeded all expectations of the Department and the family. She assisted with daily visits, regular virtual contact, reunification, ongoing respite, and many bonding strategies. She collected photos and created birth announcements for the mother to share and is now honored to be the child’s Godmother. Meaghan spent countless hours assisting the newborn during challenging times of withdrawal while prioritizing strengthening the connections with the birth family.
We recognize how complex Meaghan’s efforts are and appreciate the level of selflessness and love she continues to display. Thank you, Meaghan, for all you do!
Joshua and Sarah McClain
Congrats to Joshua and Sarah McClain, our Washington County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year! The McClains were licensed for two months when they accepted a placement of 5-month-old twin girls. They have been amazing and have provided exceptional care and advocacy.
Joshua and Sarah have supported involvement with the birth family and keeping kinship connections. They understand the importance of family connections and have decorated the girls’ room with pictures of parents, siblings, and other family members. The McClains invite the birth family to their home for the holidays, birthday celebrations, and Mother’s Day. In addition, they have included the birth family and the girls’ siblings with them on local camping vacations. The McClains regularly maintain contact with the family providing updates and pictures of the girls.
Joshua and Sarah’s involvement has been genuine and non-judgmental. They continue to be an asset to our Department, the children in their care, and their families. We are so thankful for the McClains and all they do!
Jordan and Steven Planzer
Congrats to Jordan and Steven Planzer, our Wicomico County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
The Planzers became licensed in May 2020 and, within four days, accepted their first respite placement. By their first annual reconsideration, they had cared for ten children. During crises, Jordan and Steven have provided respite care for the Wicomico County DSS Child Protective Service Unit. They have also helped care for a newborn and two siblings from Somerset County on separate occasions. Additionally, the Planzers allowed an out-of-town youth and her child to stay overnight so she could visit with family before her Permanency Plan Review Hearings.
The Planzers have facilitated relative visitations in their home, community, and virtually during the COVID pandemic. They have participated in Family Team Decision Meetings where they have engaged and exchanged information with the relatives present. Jordan and Steven have remained readily available almost immediately upon licensing. It is evident the Planzers are passionate about positively impacting the lives of children and youth, and we thank them for all they do!
Lauren and Dustin Walker
Congrats to Lauren and Dustin Walker, our Worcester County Department of Social Services Resource Parents of the Year!
The Walkers have opened their hearts and home to an older youth who seemed to have mental health challenges. The child stayed with the Walkers for a weekend and moved to another foster home in Baltimore. Because of Walker’s connection with her, she ultimately returned to their care. The youth has remained with them for the past two years.
The difference they have made in this young lady’s life is impressive. Lauren and Dustin have supported her in her need for independence yet kept firm boundaries to keep her safe. They have also accepted another young child into their home, which has had a tremendous impact. The Walkers had to do major construction to their home to welcome a child in need, and they did this with no complaints. The Walkers are patient, loving, accommodating, and respectful of the children and understand their trauma.
The Walkers also have a young biological child who is a joy to be around. We appreciate Lauren and Dustin for being exceptional resource parents and their dedication to supporting families and the reunification process!