Meet the Foster Care Team
When you’re a Northern Rivers foster parent, you’re never alone. There’s a whole team of skilled professionals with different specialties ready to help with any challenge. Each treatment team includes:
Homefinders develop an active recruitment plan for recruiting foster parents. Throughout the training process for potential foster parents, homefinders assess families’ ability to foster children as it relates to 12 skills of successful fostering. Once the foster families become certified, homefinders provide ongoing training and support for certified parents in conjunction with the foster care team.
Program coordinators provide the administrative supervision of workers in the foster care program. They oversee foster families and staff, and maintain relationships with counties in the region they serve. Program coordinators are responsible for matching foster youth with foster parents.
Permanency care managers provide case management of the children in care regarding their daily functioning in the foster care system, as well as in the foster home, during their journey toward permanency.
Clinicians provide assessment, treatment planning, and general counseling for children and families in foster care. Clinicians are available to our foster parents as a clinical resource and can provide group counseling to the foster family and foster youth.
Family support workers help with supervising birth family visitation and transportation needs including visits and appointments as needed, as well as provide occasional respite service.
Licensed practical nurses provide medical supervision.
As members of a nationally accredited agency, Northern Rivers’ foster care staff are some of the most highly trained, talented, and caring team of people in the industry. We proudly partner with many communities throughout New York state and have offices in Albany, Binghamton, Hudson, Johnstown, Queensbury, and Schenectady to ensure local support for our foster families in more than a 20-county service area.
Northern Rivers is now certifying and managing homes in the Capital Region, Hudson Valley Region, Mohawk Valley Region, the North Country, and the Southern Tier. Those interested in foster parenting should feel free to reach out to the homefinder who covers their county of residence.
Star Gregory, Director, Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention
Star Gregory is the Director, Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention. Star's team covers 23 counties that contract with Northern Rivers Foster Care program. She joined the organization in 2011, serving as a Recruitment Coordinator before being named to her current position in 2021. Prior to coming to Northern Rivers, she served in both home finding and case management positions for KidsPeace National Center. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the College of St. Rose, and is finishing her master's degree in management with a focus on organizational leadership.
Devon Barrett, Kinship Family Specialist
Devon Barrett is the Kinship Family Specialist who joined Northern Rivers’ Albany office in 2018. He currently works with our foster care team assisting Permanency Care Managers find family as well as fictive kin for youth who are in our care who can be visiting resources and/or as possible placement resources for these youth. He previously worked as an elder navigator and outreach specialist for Senior Services of Albany and as a legal and administrative assistant for Hinman Straub P.C. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Le Moyne College and is currently completing his Masters in Social Work from SUNY Albany.
Albany and Rensselaer Counties
Emily Creamer, Homefinder, Albany
Emily Creamer is a Homefinder who certifies and maintains foster homes for Albany and Rensselaer Counties. Emily joined Northern Rivers in 2017 as a Bridges to Health care manager before transitioning to her current role. Before joining Northern Rivers, Emily worked for 9 years with Catholic Charities AIDS Services and St. Patrick’s Home-Based Child Care Center.
Stephanie Klein, Homefinder, Albany
Stephanie Klein joined Northern Rivers in 2020 and is a Homefinder in our Albany office. She previously worked as a child care worker for more than 10 years, and has been a volunteer EMT in her community since 2011.
Jenny McMillen, Homefinder, Schenectady
Jenny McMillen is the Homefinder for our Schenectady office. She certifies and maintains foster homes in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. Jenny joined Northern Rivers in 2006 as a counselor for the Intensive Aftercare and Prevention Program. She has worked in the Therapeutic Foster Family Program as a clinician, program coordinator, and respite coordinator. Jenny has worked as a medical claim representative with an insurance agency and was a part-time respite worker at Equinox for several years, working with adolescents transitioning into adulthood by assisting them with independent living skills. She earned her BS in psychology and MS in community counseling at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, and Ulster Counties
Jessica Hatch, Homefinder, Hudson
Jessica Hatch is a Homefinder who joined Northern Rivers’ Hudson office in 2018. She certifies and maintains foster homes in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, and Ulster Counties. She received her BA in psychology and her MS in mental health counseling from SUNY New Paltz. Jessica previously worked with the underserved at the Institute for Family Health, where she was trained in psychological first aid, child abuse identification, and suicide modalities. She is currently certified as a CPR/AED(automated external defibrillator)/First Aid instructor and has attended a variety of alcohol and substance abuse trainings.
Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie Counties
Jolene Olsen, Homefinder, Johnstown
Jolene Olsen is the Homefinder for our Johnstown office. She certifies and maintains foster homes in Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie Counties. Jolene joined Northern Rivers in 2015 as a clinical case manager. Her previous experience includes working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, providing individualized services in their home. She has also worked as a teacher’s aide, assisting in the development and implementation of children’s individual education plans, as well as assisting teachers in managing children’s difficult behaviors in the classroom.
Kari Judd, Homefinder
Kari Judd joined Northern Rivers in 2020 as a Homefinder. She certifies and maintains foster homes in Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties. She received her BFA in graphic design from SUNY Oswego. Kari previously worked as a caseworker for Herkimer County and the House of the Good Shepherd. She has attended a variety of suicide awareness and substance abuse prevention trainings.
Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties
Lauren O'Connor, Homefinder, Queensbury
Lauren O'Connor is a homefinder who joined Northern Rivers’ Queensbury office in 2022. She certifies and maintains foster families from Essex, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties. She previously worked as a health advocate and home visitor for Head Start in Saratoga. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and communication sciences and disorders from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Otsego, and Tompkins Counties
Kelsey Chapman, Homefinder, Binghamton
Kelsey Chapman is a homefinder who joined Northern Rivers’ Binghamton office in 2022. She certifies and maintains kinship foster homes in Broome and surrounding counties. She previously served the foster care program as a permanency care manager, and has also worked as a foster care caseworker for Glove House and as a family advocate for the Crime Victims Assistance Center in Binghamton. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and human services from SUNY Potsdam.