SWAN Logo

We change the world, one child at a time.

Diakon/FDR Staff

Leadership

  • John Coutts, IT Manager

    John serves as the SWAN IT systems manager for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries.  Joining Diakon in 2008, John oversees information technology management of the prime contract for SWAN.  He manages all aspects of technology directly related to the prime contact including development and maintenance of the SWAN portal.  John blends technology with practice to create useful, efficient resources.  Before joining Diakon, John was associate director for a non-profit environmental organization in Harrisburg.  Contact John at 717-231-6421 or jcoutts@diakon-swan.org.

  • Judi Damiano, Senior Program Manager

    Judi is a senior program manager for the SWAN contract.  She has worked for Family Design Resources since 2000 and with the SWAN contract since 1996.  She was previously a division manager for SWAN technical assistance in the western region.  She provides leadership for and oversight of the SWAN technical assistance provided throughout Pennsylvania.  Before joining FDR Judi was a permanency specialist at Project STAR.  She has a master’s degree in professional leadership from Carlow University and a bachelor of science in information science from the University of Pittsburgh.  Contact Judi at 717-231-6430 or jdamiano@diakon-swan.org.

  • Brenda Lawrence, SWAN Program Administrator

    Brenda is the co-founder and executive director of Family Design Resources, founded in 1999, and the SWAN program administrator since 2000.  She guided the growth of SWAN services from adoption to all permanency goals and from providing only SWAN units of services to the addition and growth of the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange and the SWAN Legal Services Initiative.  She continues to provide overall supervision of the SWAN prime contract program and FDR.  Brenda received her bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the Pennsylvania State University and her master’s of social work form West Virginia University.  Contact Brenda at 717-231-5351 or blawrence@diakon-swan.org.

  • Peggy McFarland, Fiscal Manager

    Peggy serves as the SWAN fiscal manager for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries.  Joining the prime contract with Diakon in 2006, Peggy oversees fiscal operations and reporting of the prime contract for SWAN.  Before joining the prime contract, she held several positions in finance at Diakon and previously Tressler Lutheran Services since 1992.  Peggy works at Diakon’s SWAN office in Harrisburg.  Contact Peggy at 717-231-5369 or pmcfarland@diakon-swan.org.

  • Lisa Stum, SWAN Contracts Administrator

    Lisa serves as the SWAN contracts administrator for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, which she joined in 2000.  With more than a decade of SWAN experience, she manages mission-critical administration and monitors subcontractor activities of the prime contract.  Providing supervision of the data management and information technology development requirements of the prime contract, Lisa also focuses on facilitating Diakon's accomplishment of the SWAN prime contract objectives.  Before joining Diakon, Lisa held the position of director of support services for the previous SWAN prime contractor.  She is a graduate of Millersville University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  Contact Lisa at 717-231-5365 or lstum@diakon-swan.org.

 

Legal Services Initiative (LSI)

  • Laurie Mann-Carpenter, LSI Division Manager

    Laurie is a SWAN LSI division manager. She joined Family Design Resources in 2005 as a SWAN LSI paralegal in Lancaster County.  She transitioned to an LSI coordinator position in 2009 and LSI division manager in 2014. Laurie received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/Music from Millersville University and an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from Harrisburg Area Community College.  Contact Laurie at 717-231-6455 or lmann@diakon-swan.org.

  • Stephanie Mannering, LSI Division Manager

    Stephanie is a SWAN LSI division manager.  She joined the SWAN prime contract in 2006 as a paralegal for the Adoption Legal Services Project in Allegheny County.  She also worked as a SWAN LSI paralegal for Butler and Lawrence counties and as a SWAN LSI coordinator in the northwest region.  Before joining FDR she was a family service specialist in the child welfare system in Delaware.  Stephanie graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in criminal justice and from Duquesne University with a master’s in paralegal studies.  Contact Stephanie at 717-231-6445 or smannering@diakon-swan.org.

  • Rachel H. Meaker, Legal Training Division Manager

    Rachel is a legal training division manager for Family Design Resources.  She joined SWAN as a legal training specialist in 2009.  Rachel graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and Widener University School of Law.  Before joining SWAN, Rachel practiced child welfare law for 11 years.  She served as an assistant county solicitor for Berks County Children and Youth Services until 2003 and as a guardian ad litem in Berks County until 2009.  Rachel provides legal training to attorneys, paralegals and social workers in the child welfare system, responds to Warmline inquiries and provides legal support to the adoption search program.  Contact Rachel at 717-558-1241 or rmeaker@diakon-swan.org.

  • Brooke Milliron, LSI Division Manager

    Brooke is a SWAN LSI division manager. She joined Family Design Resources in 2010 as an LSI paralegal in Lawrence County. Brooke was named an LSI coordinator in the west in 2012, and in 2015 she became a division manager. Before joining FDR, Brooke was a foster care specialist with The Bair Foundation for 12 years. She graduated from Grove City College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in sociology. Contact Brooke at 717-558-7072 or bmilliron@diakon-swan.org.

  • Belinda Muschar, LSI Division Manager

    Belinda has been involved with the SWAN prime contract since 2002, becoming a SWAN LSI division manager for the northwest region in 2013.  Before accepting her current position, she was a SWAN LSI paralegal for Westmoreland County, a SWAN regional technical assistant and SWAN LSI coordinator in the western region.  Before joining SWAN, Belinda worked at Allegheny County, Office of Children, Youth and Families as a county caseworker in the intake, foster care and adoption departments.  She received her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science from the University of Pittsburgh. Contact Belinda at 717-231-6422 or bmuschar@diakon-swan.org.

  • Suzanne Palmer, LSI Division Manager

    Suzanne Palmer serves as one of the five LSI division managers.  She joined Family Design Resources in 2002 where she began as the SWAN LSI paralegal in Lycoming County.  In 2007, Suzanne became an LSI coordinator before transitioning to her current role.  She now provides support and collaboration to LSI coordinators, counties in the central region and their paralegals.  Suzanne has a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and her juris doctor from Widener University School of Law.  Contact Suzanne at 717-231-6445 or spalmer@diakon-swan.org.

  • Mary Beth Powers, LSI Division Manager

    Marybeth is a SWAN LSI division manager.  She joined Family Design Resources in 2002 and has been involved with the SWAN LSI program since its inception.  She was a SWAN LSI paralegal in Lehigh County before becoming an LSI coordinator in 2005 and a division manager in 2009.  Marybeth received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Clarkson University, a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and a paralegal certificate from Syracuse University.  Contact Mary Beth at 717-231-6436 or mpowers@diakon-swan.org.

  • Michael K. Wahlen, ALSP Manager

    Mike is the Adoption Legal Services Program manager for Family Design Resources, starting in 2013.  He graduated from Duquesne University in 1999 and later received his juris doctor from University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  In 2005 Mike worked as an attorney and advocate on behalf of children at KidsVoice.  He represented dependant children in Allegheny County Juvenile Court.  In 2010 Mike was promoted to legal training coordinator at KidsVoice in addition to his responsibilities as a staff attorney.  In his current role he also coordinates the pro bono work on adoption cases of the Pittsburgh based, multinational law firm Reed Smith.  Mike and the staff at ALSP also work as mediators to arrange post adoption contact agreements with families.  Contact Mike at 717-909-6777 or mwahlen@diakon-swan.org.

  • Natalie Witt-Washine, LSI Division Manager

    Natalie serves as a division manager for the SWAN LSI program, primarily in the northeastern region.  Joining Family Design Resources in 2001, she was responsible for the initial development of the SWAN LSI program.  Before joining SWAN, Natalie served as an associate attorney an insurance defense law firm in another state.  She also worked as a director and program instructor for a paralegal training program in Phoenix, Arizona.  She is a graduate of West Virginia University and Widener University School of Law.  Contact Natalie at 717-231-6449 or nwitt@diakon-swan.org.

 

Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange (PAE)

    • Jane Johnston, SWAN PAE Division Manager

      Jane is division manager for the SWAN PAE, joining Family Design Resources in 2001.  She oversees the matching of waiting children and families.  She provides leadership to the PAE coordinators as they work with the private agencies and county children and youth agencies to find permanent families for Pennsylvania’s waiting children.  She works closely with the information technology group to support the single record database for children and families, including development of the initial matching algorithm for PAE.  Before joining SWAN she spent 10 years as the state director of the Independent Living Project.  Jane has an undergraduate degree from Penn State University in law enforcement and corrections and her master’s degree from Shippensburg University in the administration of justice.  Contact Jane at 717-231-5362 or jjohnston@diakon-swan.org.

 

Regional Technical Assistants (RTA)

      • Melissa Eller, SWAN RTA Division Manager, Western Region

        Melissa is a regional technical assistance division manager for SWAN for the western region, joining Family Design Resources in 2002.  She was previously a paralegal for Westmoreland County, regional technical assistant and SWAN LSI coordinator.  Melissa began her child welfare career in 1999, working as a paralegal for the Adoption Legal Services Project in Allegheny County.  Melissa holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in community counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She is a nationally certified counselor.  Contact Melissa at 717-231-6438 or meller@diakon-swan.org.

      • Tammy Hendrix, SWAN RTA Division Manager, NE/SC/NC Regions

        Tammy is a regional technical assistance division manager for SWAN in the central and northeast regions, joining Family Design Resources in 2004.  Tammy was a regional technical assistant and now oversees the technical assistance provided to county children and youth agencies and SWAN affiliate agencies.  Before joining SWAN, Tammy worked in human service program development, implementation and monitoring.  She has 18 years of direct service and supervisory experience in adoption and foster care.  Tammy, a licensed clinical social worker, is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a master’s degree in social work.  Contact Tammy at 717-231-5368 or thendrix@diakon-swan.org.

      • Yvette Lassiter, SWAN RTA Division Manager, South Eastern Region

        Yvette Lassiter is a regional technical assistance division manager for SWAN for the south eastern region, joining Family Design Resources in 2004.  Yvette was a regional technical assistant and now oversees the technical assistance provided to county children and youth agencies and SWAN affiliate agencies.  She has provided group facilitation for LBGTQ youth in Philadelphia for many years and diversity trainings for various organizations.  Yvette previously worked as an intake, foster and adoption social worker and supervisor for a private agency in the Philadelphia area.  Contact Yvette at 717-231-6454 or ylassiter@diakon-swan.org.

 

Research/Quality Assurance

      • Mike Kovacevic, Research/Quality Assurance Division Manager

        Mike has been involved in the research and evaluation of SWAN programs and services since 2000, becoming research and quality assurance manager for Family Design Resources in 2010.  He oversees contracts with the SWAN Helpline and the Pennsylvania Resource Family Association.  Before working with SWAN, Mike worked at the Center for Juvenile Justice Training and Research at Shippensburg University and administered the Family Preservation Program and Communities That Care.  Mike received a bachelor’s degree in government from Lehigh University and a master’s in criminal justice administration from Shippensburg University.  Contact Mike at 717-968-0955 or mkovacevic@diakon-swan.org.

 

Program/Conferencing

        • Pamela Wagner, Program and Conferencing Division Manager

          Pam is the SWAN Program and Conferencing division manager, joining Family Design Resources in 2000.  She oversees the educational and best practice initiatives.  She was previously a SWAN regional technical assistant and child preparation technical assistant.  Before joining SWAN she was a caseworker for Tressler Lutheran Services in the north central region, providing pre- and post-adoption services.  Pam also presents workshops and training sessions at state and national events.  She attended Geneva College and Slippery Rock University.  Contact Pam at 717-231-6439 or pwagner@diakon-swan.org.