Our Advisory Council
Our council members are a diverse group of professionals and homemakers but we have one commonality, our experience as licensed foster parents and our love and compassion for children and families who have been involved with the child welfare system. We are dedicated to cultivating an organized community of foster, adoptive and kinship parents who will be the catalyst for positive change. We know and understand that when it comes to fostering and adopting out of the foster care system you must support the family in order to support the child. We meet several times a year to discuss key issues and to brainstorm different avenues for resolution. We love out of the box thinking and we welcome your ideas and suggestions for positive change. You can contact our board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Lara Bouse: Co-President - has been a dedicated resource parent for over 20 years. Lara has two step children and two foster children who are currently in the process of being adopting. Lara, her husband and her children are all avid Boy Scout supporters and participants. Lara has served resource families in her community as the Chair of the Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Services Workgroup (FAKS) which is a subcommittee of the Livingston County Human Services Collaborative Body.
“I am very excited about the work that Fostering Forward Michigan is doing on behalf of Michigan families and kids,” Lara said. “After this many years on this foster care journey, I know how essential community support and training is for every family that has a child in transition. I am committed to ensuring our kids and families have the services and supports they need and I believe that Fostering Forward Michigan can have a big impact in this area.”
Melissa Covell: Secretary - is a licensed foster parent from Macomb County. She is a devoted wife and a dedicated foster mom to every child who comes into their care. Melissa works closely with several local nonprofit groups whose mission is to support foster children.
Melissa is a lifelong resident of Michigan and she holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University. Melissa is one of the original Foster Care Navigators who worked for the DHS funded program when it was managed by the Judson Center. She continues to work for the Judson Center, now as a Navigator for their in-house foster care program.
Melissa is excited to be a member of Fostering Forward Michigan’s advisory council, “My husband and I were mentored by a wonderful foster family that helped us though the ups and downs of fostering. It was their guidance and words of encouragement that gave us the strength to continue our foster care journey. Joining the Navigator program, gave me the opportunity to pay it forward and I am so grateful to be able to continue to help Michigan foster families through Fostering Forward Michigan.”
Rachel Kornilakis : Co-President - is the founder of Fostering Forward Michigan. Through her work with Fostering Forward Michigan, The Foster Care Navigators, the Adoptive Family Support Network, the Post Adoption Resource Center and the Michigan Association for Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Parents, Rachel has worked with several hundred Michigan families in various stages of their foster care and adoption journeys as a peer to peer mentor. Much of Rachel's experience comes from her personal journey as a foster and adoptive parent.
Kim Ross: Treasurer - is a licensed foster and adoptive parent, along with her partner of 13 years. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and she has over 17 years experience working with children in the camp program setting. In addition to her work with Fostering Forward Michigan, Kim serves as the Diversity Chair, Member at Large on the Michigan Section of the America Camping Association and is also on the Advisory Board for the Family Equality Council. Additionally, Kim worked as one of the original Foster Care Navigators for over 2 years and she helped hundreds of Michigan families during her service with the program.
“I’ve always wanted to help the underdog and let’s face it, foster parents have always been the underdogs of the child welfare system. But it is a great time for foster families, we are finding our collective voice and being heard in ways that we never could have dreamed of 10 years ago. The volunteers and the board at Fostering Forward Michigan have the experience and the exposure to make a big impact in the fostering community. I’m very excited to be able to continue to serve Michigan foster families in this capacity.”
Active Advisory Council Members
Former Council Members
Tamara Gabourie, Oakland County. 2014/2015
Julie Sartor, Macomb County. 2014/2015
Doreen Jones 2015/2016
Nick and Kristen Sequin 2016/2017
Katie Page Sander 2014/2015/2016