National Council For Adoption was proud to honor Tom Velie, Kelly Peterson, and S.A.F.E. at our 2017 National Adoption Conference. On behalf of the entire adoption community, thank you for your tremendous impact on the lives of children and families!
Tom was blessed to be born into a loving and stable family. His personal experience lead him to the belief that every child deserved what he had. His father and grandfather had a tremendous impact on his life and reinforced his belief regarding the importance of family. This belief became his life’s mission—to make a permanent difference in the lives of children and families. He and his wife, Debbie, were blessed with two beautiful daughters through international adoption and they are now the proud grandparents of five wonderful grandchildren, with another one on the way.
In his “first career” involving youth ministry and operating a home-building company, Tom’s fulfilment and practical education came during 16 years spent overseeing a residential group home and during the last 15 years, as President of New Beginnings. Debbie and Tom’s eldest daughter, Cori, was elected by the New Beginnings Board of Directors as Executive Director in 2015 and will succeed him at New Beginnings—bringing the family’s adoption experience full-circle.
In his efforts to make a difference in the lives of children, Tom continues to involve himself as member of MACCA (Mississippi Association of Child Care Agencies), he is a founding member of NCAF (National Christian Adoption Fellowship), he is a volunteer evaluator for COA, he is involved in MS Child Protective Services to impact practice and legislation to benefit children, and is a passionate and active member of and advocate for National Council For Adoption.
Currently Chief Executive Officer of Utah Foster Care, Kelly has a rich history of child welfare experiences. She has worked as a parent trainer volunteer, a rural social worker with oversight for foster care and adoption, a therapist in a medical psychiatric lockdown facility, a prison inmate therapist, and facilitated support groups for cancer patients. She has dedicated her life to helping others and particularly to the cause of giving safety and permanency to children in foster care. Her compassion, expertise, and leadership has brought extraordinary change and improved outcomes for youth in foster care in Utah.
Kelly shares that as a former foster youth yerself, foster care and adoption is very personal. Observing hundreds of children find permanent and forever families throughout her career as a caseworker, supervisor, therapist, trainer, and administrator has blessed her life and been incredibly rewarding.
Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (S.A.F.E.) is Consortium for Children’s standardized home study methodology that has revolutionized the way that both public and private child welfare agencies study and evaluate prospective adoptive, kin, and foster families. S.A.F.E. aids home study practitioners in performing a thorough, structured, and uniform evaluation of families who have applied to foster or adopt. Using research-based tools and processes, S.A.F.E. creates a thorough, uniform evaluation tool which is fair to all applicants as well as a valuable tool of clinical support to home study practitioners.
The Adoption Hall of Fame award is given in recognition of outstanding commitment, service, and sacrifice for the cause of adoption by an individual or organization who has positively impacted the practice of adoption. The Friend of Adoption award is given in recognition of significant contributions made to the field of adoption by an individual or organization.