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The National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support is funded by the Children’s Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children & Families within the United States Department of Health and Human Services 


The National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support is a partnership composed of the following agencies:

Spaulding for Children
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Our Team

Melinda Lis

Melinda Lis, MSW

Post-Adoption Director
Pronouns: She/Her

Melinda Lis, Vice President of the Academy at Spaulding for Children, serves as the Director for the Post-Adoption Center.  Melinda  has worked in child welfare over the past 30 years in both public and private child welfare agencies and Universities. Since 2013, Melinda has worked at Spaulding for Children. During this time she has helped to implement and direct numerous national initiatives. Melinda received her Master Degree from the University of Chicago and her Bachelor Degree from the University of Alabama. She is the recipient of the 2020 National Adoption Excellence Award. Melinda and her husband were licensed foster parents in Illinois and have adopted three children.

DaJari Patterson

DaJari Patterson, MSW, JD

Program Director
Pronouns: She/Her

DaJari Patterson serves as the Post-Adoption Center Resource Library Program Director. Ms. Patterson has over 25 years of experience working in child welfare in both the public and private sectors. She has expertise in the fields of adoption, foster care, kinship care, and resource development. She served at both the county and State levels with Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services. Ms. Patterson holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Sharon Vandivere

Sharon Vandivere, MPP

Evaluation Lead
Pronouns: She/Her

Sharon Vandivere is a senior research scientist in the child welfare program area at Child Trends, where she has carried out research and evaluation for 25 years. She serves as the evaluation lead for the Post-Adoption Center. She is a subject matter expert in child welfare and a methodological expert in the use and analysis of administrative, survey, and other quantitative data. Sharon and her husband were licensed foster parents in Maryland. They have one child through private domestic adoption and also adopted two of their former foster children.

Allison Douglas

Allison Douglas, M.S., IECMH-E®

Post-Permanency Expert
Pronouns: She/Her

Allison Cooke Douglas, M.S., IECMH-E®, is the Resource Center Director at Harmony Family Center in Knoxville, TN. She serves as a post-permanency expert at the National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support. Over the past decade, Allison’s work has focused on post-permanency family support.  She has written and presented curricula regarding therapeutic parenting, the impact of early trauma on the developing brain, and best practices in the child welfare system. In her work with Tennessee’s Adoption Support and Preservation (ASAP) program, Allison has coached adoptive families, facilitated parent support groups, designed therapeutic children’s programming, and provided consultation as a part of Harmony’s multidisciplinary ASAP team.   Allison holds an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement, is certified in Phases I and II of The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and is a Neurosequential Model in Education trainer. She is a Napa Infant-Parent & Early Childhood Mental Health Fellowship fellow and was selected for the 2022-23 All Educators cohort at The Fred Rogers Institute. Allison brings her lived experience as an adoptive mother of four children, adopted via foster care, to her work at the Center.

Michelle Warner

Michelle Warner, LMSW, TBRI®

Specialist in TBRI®
Pronouns: She/Her

Michelle is a Program Director at Raise the Future and has direct experience with statewide implementation of various policies and initiatives, as well as expertise on how TBRI ® (Trust Based Relational Intervention) can strengthen post-adoption services. Prior to joining Raise the Future, Michelle worked as the Permanency Administrator for the State of Kansas Department for Children and Families. In this role, she provided oversight and guidance to 18+ different agencies who provide foster care services in Kansas’ privatized system. Michelle is an experienced trainer, who has instructed parents, caregivers and the workforce in various curricula, including TBRI®, pre-service for foster/adoptive families and various adoption competency courses for those providing direct service. Michelle started her career social work 10 years ago providing an array of pre- and post-placement services for adoptive families.

Laura Ornelas

Laura A. Ornelas, MSW, LCSW

C.A.S.E. Team Lead
Pronouns: She/Her

Laura is the Director of the Academy for Advancing Clinical Practice in Permanency at the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) and is the C.A.S.E. team lead for the Post-Adoption Center.

A graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), Laura is a licensed clinical social worker, and has been working in foster care and adoption for 30 years. After a decade of child placement work in Los Angeles, Laura was inspired to support families post placement/on their lifelong journeys and has started up numerous adoption/permanency specialty programs focused on relationally based healing throughout California. With a deep background serving diverse family systems, Laura is a nationally respected trainer and writer, contributing to numerous parenting and professional curricula including the NTDC, NTI and TAC.

Michelle D. Seymore

Director of Dissemination and Partnership
Pronouns: She/Her

Michelle D Seymore, National Director of Equity and Partnership at NAA, is the Director of dissemination and partnership for the Post-Adoption Center. Michelle received a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Metropolitan State University. She has worked in state and county level child welfare agencies for over 20 years.  As a public servant, Michelle has focused on creating better outcomes for families experiencing the child welfare system and reducing disparities. Michelle is an alumnus of the Minority Professional Leadership Development Fellowship and joined NAA in 2023.