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HELP Program Clinical Specialists Professional Bios:
Emily Alewine MSW, LISW (Program Manager):
Emily is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW #19132) who received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from Hamline University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/ University of St. Catherine collaborative clinical focused social work program. She has graduated from the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (PACC) program through the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota (http://cascw.umn.edu/continuing-education/permanency-adoption-competency-certificate/). Since 2000, Emily has focused on working with children, teens and families touched by out-of-home placement and/or trauma, including: Residential Treatment; Emergency Shelter; Pregnancy Services; Open Adoption and Post-Adoption Supportive Services.
“I am committed and passionate about assisting children, teens and families navigate the complexities of adoption.”
Heather Van Brunt M. Ed., LSW:
Heather has a M.Ed. in Counseling from North Dakota State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Minnesota State University – Moorhead and is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW #10393). She has graduated from the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (PACC) program through the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota (http://cascw.umn.edu/continuing-education/permanency-adoption-competency-certificate/). Heather has extensive experience working within the adoption community. Her prior work has focused on supporting birth and adoptive parents with grief, loss and open adoption relationships as well as educating and supporting parents adopting children with traumatic backgrounds.
“I have a deep respect for the beautiful and difficult layers for all who are touched by the adoption process. Children and families deserve skilled support throughout the different chapters of their experiences.”
Andrea Brubaker MSW, LGSW (Clinical Specialist):
Andrea Brubaker earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. She has focused her career on supporting adopted children and their families. Prior to her position with MN ADOPT, Andrea has worked in a variety of settings, including: special education for the city of Saint Paul; evaluated policies, practices, and programs through the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare; and provided therapeutic services to children and families in a day treatment setting. As a LEND Fellow (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disorders) Andrea collaborated with professionals in neurology, educational psychology, genetics, nursing, and social work to highlight child welfare issues across systems. Through this program she earned a certificate in Disability Policy and Services bringing an added element to her knowledge base to better support those touched by adoption. During her time in graduate school Andrea served as a Permanency and Adoption Intern and graduate assistant working alongside leaders in child welfare committed to best practices, evidence-based research, and policy advocacy in child permanency.
“I am truly honored to be a part of the lives of families, and am enlivened by people’s capacity for kindness and empathy during challenging times.”
Some examples of adoptive family feedback regarding their interactions with the HELP Program….
“Until I talked to [HELP Program Clinical Specialist], I have really felt like we were going this alone and no one was interested in helping us.”
“We have been so pleased with the MN ADOPT HELP line, and I’ve already mentioned it to several of my friends with adopted children. Such a great resource!”
“Very prompt with calling back, a lot of great resources, very knowledgeable staff.”
“Navigating support networks is sometimes so difficult you cannot access the support. MN ADOPT HELP Program really was about making the process easy and being as helpful as possible. Everyone was kind and knowledgeable. The support I received made a significant difference for an adopted young person.”
A few examples of worker feedback regarding the MN ADOPT organization and the MN ADOPT HELP Program….
“Our adoptive families are appreciative of the services from the MN ADOPT HELP program. The workers in this program are quick to respond with option and ideas which help the adoptive parents locate services, education and supports. There continues to be a high need for this type of program in Minnesota to help prevent disruptions for children.”
-PATH Social Worker
“I just can’t say enough about what a wonderful support MN ADOPT has been over the years, both as a resource parent in Minnesota, and now as I transition into a professional public child welfare role. I recently contacted the HELP Program on behalf of a young woman, and was given excellent referrals to adoption-competent care providers based specifically on her unique needs and wants. I’m very pleased to say that she has reviewed the referrals, and is open to the idea of receiving mental health support for the first time in several years! Huge thanks to the MN ADOPT HELP staff, and everyone at MN ADOPT for being such an amazing resource to Minnesota children, families, and the professionals working in partnership with them!”
–Parent and Adoption Professional, University of Minnesota MSW Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Student