Meet our team

Our National Center for Diligent Recruitment team is a dedicated group of child welfare and system-change experts, providing free services that promote and support diligent recruitment practices to help achieve improved outcomes for children and families.


Deborah Burrus Germany

National Center Director

Deborah Burrus Germany (she/her) completed the Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) fellowship in 2019 and went on to serve as director of that program. Before serving as MPLD director, Deborah worked passionately in the field of child welfare for more than 30 years. She held various positions in adoption and recruitment in the state of Georgia, including statewide recruitment manager and state adoption director.

During her time in Georgia, Deborah developed and implemented statewide diligent recruitment plans; developed, created, and carried out statewide recruitment programs; coordinated recruitment materials and recruitment activities; implemented AdoptUSKids “Answering the Call” in Georgia; guided the development of a recruitment database to track families through the recruitment process; participated in program and policy development for the recruitment continuum for foster, adoptive, and kinship homes; served as one of the primary developers of Georgia’s IMPACT curriculum used for pre-service training for foster and adoptive families; and served as the state’s spokesperson for TV and radio for the recruitment of foster and adoptive parents. Deborah also championed efforts to initiate discussions about racial equity, disproportionality, and disparities with Georgia’s judicial partners.

She has served on the board of directors for the National Adoption Association and for the Association of State Adoption Programs (NASAP), where she was an officer. In 2022, Deborah received an Adoption Excellence Award from the US Children’s Bureau and AdoptUSKids. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia for her years supporting adoptive, foster, and kinship families.


Candis Jones

Director of Intensive Technical Assistance

Candis Jones (she/her) is a seasoned thought leader and child welfare practitioner, boasting over 26 years of experience in public child welfare. As the state recruitment manager, she oversaw the development and implementation of technological advancements to streamline processing which led to a 20% increase in caregiver onboarding within two years. She excels in systems change, outcomes-focused strategic planning, continuous quality improvement, lean innovation, teaching, and coaching. Candis has spearheaded numerous large-scale statewide initiatives, implementing sustainable practices that significantly enhanced outcomes for children and families. She has years of experience in child welfare policy development and practice guidance. She has been a staunch advocate for authentic lived experience engagement and the uplifting of youth and family voice in child welfare workstreams.


Kate Hurt

Senior Advisor

Kate Hurt (she/her) serves as a senior advisor at the National Center for Diligent Recruitment. She leads the strategy and delivery of universal, peer, and short-term technical assistance, engaging and partnering with child welfare systems in states, tribes, and territories to develop support that is responsive to identified needs and rooted in equity and youth voice.

Kate spent over a decade working in the public child welfare system, serving in multiple levels of leadership prior to joining AdoptUSKids in 2019 as senior director of capacity building and engagement. With the launching of the NCDR, Kate will lend her expertise to the Center’s leadership team, collaborating to provide data-driven diligent recruitment of foster, adoptive, and kinship families for children and youth.


Alicia Groh

Capacity Building and Coaching Consultant

Alicia Groh (she/her), MPP, MSc in Change Leadership, has 25 years of experience in child welfare work, spending the past 15 years as a consultant partnering with states, counties, tribes, territories, and nonprofit organizations to help them refine their vision, strengthen their work, and achieve improved outcomes. She has worked with dozens of child welfare systems, assisting them with effective diligent recruitment, data-driven work, customer service in child welfare, and other areas to improve outcomes for children and families. She has extensive knowledge of diligent recruitment planning and program design and of child welfare laws, policies, and funding streams as well as experience leading strategic change efforts. She brings a passion for permanency and well-being for children and youth to all of her work.

Alicia was previously the executive director of Voice for Adoption. She also worked as a child welfare policy analyst at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, developing policy guidance for states on federal child welfare programs.


Kimberly Bonham

Knowledge and Dissemination Advisor

Kimberly Bonham (she/her) has worked extensively with foster, kinship, and adoptive parents as a caseworker, foster family coordinator, and supervisor for a total of 20 years in support of permanency for children and youth in the public child welfare system. While working in public child welfare, she earned recognition for providing quality customer service, developing culturally responsive care trainings and creating tools to support successful permanency outcomes. Kimberly holds a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a graduate of the AdoptUSKids Minority Professional Leadership Development program (MPLD), where she completed an action research project on youth engagement, exploring teen adoption ambivalence. A licensed clinical social worker, Kimberly is a Knowledge and Dissemination Advisor with the National Center for Diligent Recruitment, providing universal services for child welfare professionals and tailored assistance to states, tribes, and territories.


John McInturf

Diligent Recruitment Data Advisor

John McInturf (he/him), MSW, has over 40 years of experience in child welfare having served as a state Child Welfare Program Director, SACWIS Deputy Director and Director of Performance and Planning. As program director he implemented evidence-based initiatives to enhance his state’s child welfare services. He is a leader in child welfare data and technology, having built numerous data tracking systems and advancing technology to support frontline staff. More recently he has provided technical assistance and capacity building to states, tribes, and territories as a consultant with the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology, the Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment, and the Capacity Building Center for States. John serves in the role of Data Advisor for diligent recruitment helping to advance the use of data to inform practice and improve outcomes.


Jay Warner

Diligent Recruitment Advisor

Jay Warner (he/him), MS, CSW, serves as a Diligent Recruitment Advisor at the National Center for Diligent Recruitment. He has a BS in Social Work, an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, and 20 years of experience in Child Welfare in the state of Wisconsin. He has worked with both private and public agencies with a focus on diligent recruitment efforts for kin caregivers, like-kin, foster, and adoptive homes for children and youth in out-of-home care. Jay also has certifications in Lean Six Sigma and the Training on Adoption Competency from the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE). Almost 10 years of his experience was as a permanency consultant providing consultation, technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal and county agencies, and child welfare professionals. Jay is committed to supporting the work of reducing and eliminating disproportionality and disparities for communities of color and the LGBTQIA2S+ community.


Karla Wells

Diligent Recruitment Advisor

Karla Wells (she/her) serves as a Diligent Recruitment Advisor at the National Center for Diligent Recruitment. Karla has over 25 years of experience in child welfare in the State of Georgia. She has served with various programs such as foster care, resource development and recruitment, adoption, staff development, and capacity building. Most of her career has been involved in providing technical assistance with positive permanency outcomes for youth and caregiver recruitment. She has extensive knowledge of adoption and capacity building for professionals and caregivers. Her passion lies with coaching and mentoring others to reach their full potential. She believes that with the right tools and mindset, nothing is impossible.


Pamela Robbins

National Child Welfare Advisor

Pamela Robbins (she/her) serves as a National Child Welfare Advisor. In her role, Pamela partners with child welfare leaders from states, tribes, and territories to provide universal and short-term technical assistance for recruiting, engaging, developing, and supporting foster and adoptive families. Pamela has over 25 years of experience working in the child welfare system. Most recently, Pamela served as the Executive Director of the Kansas Foster Adoptive Parent Association and worked with state agency partners, private providers, and associations to implement system-level change. This work included active participation on statewide steering committees to assess and improve statewide policies and practices around recruitment, training, and retention.



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AdoptUSKids and the National Center for Diligent Recruitment are operated by the National Adoption Association and made possible by grant number 90CO1143 from the US Children's Bureau. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the National Adoption Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children's Bureau, ACYF, ACF, or HHS.

Contact Us

Wherever you are in your diligent recruitment planning and implementation process, our National Center for Diligent Recruitment staff are here to help you.



In English: (888) 200-4005
En español: (877) 236-7831