Who We Are

Moving in the Direction of Hope

FamilyForward’s highly skilled staff, evidence-based practices, and strong partnerships with leading educational institutions and researchers positions the agency to utilize innovative tools and practices to formulate better insights and achieve better outcomes for children and families.


FamilyForward leads the community in providing innovative solutions for advancing safer, healthier relationships for children and families.


FamilyForward moves vulnerable children in the direction of hope by delivering comprehensive therapeutic and educational services to support biological, foster, and adoptive families.


FamilyForward is the result of a 2017 merger between two of St. Louis’ most accomplished and leading-edge non-profit organizations, Children’s Home Society of Missouri and Family Resource Center. With long and proud histories of helping children and families, the agencies united from positions of strength to better serve the community. FamilyForward is transforming the way we understand the effects of childhood trauma.

Core Values

6 Geographic Sites

Out Front

We are leaders in the use of innovative tools and methods to get better results for the children and families we serve. We prefer to set the pace, testing new ideas and collecting data; always striving to make the biggest impact we can.

182 Clinical, professional, and administrative personnel

Whole Hearted

We are tirelessly committed to the vision and mission of FamilyForward. We use our unique talents and expertise to serve our clients and community with compassion, acceptance, and respect.

483 Actively engaged volunteers

Rock Solid

We are responsible stewards of an organization with a long and proud history of service. Reliable, trustworthy, and hard-working, we do whatever it takes to get the job done, even when no one is watching.

Executive Team

Karen E. Nolte, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

Sharon Skidmore Stern, MSW, LCSW

Chief Program Officer

Jessica L. Dederer, MHA

Chief Development Officer

Paula Pettibone, MEd, MSW

Chief Administrative Officer

Patrick Fox

Chief Financial Officer

Board of Directors

  • Charles Woods
  • Douglas R. Beach
    Secretary, Advocacy Board Liaison
  • Rebecca Daming
    Treasurer/Vice President
    Finance & Endowment
  • Christopher Reid
    Advisor to the President
    Vice President Board Affairs
  • Megan Bittle
    Vice President Programs
  • Edward DeVault II
    Vice President Development
  • Steven Goldstein
    Vice President Retirement
  • Matt Harvey
    Vice President Audit
  • Jan L. Hess
    Vice President Human Resources
  • Matthew Hunt
    Vice President Strategic Planning
  • Earl Ming
    Vice President Facilities
  • Kathleen Scarmana
    Vice President Programs
  • Glenn Archer
  • Satonya Booker
  • Valori Bring
  • Tina Clark-Scott
  • Brian Clevinger, PhD
  • Cassandra Gresco
  • Salvador Hernandez
  • Gregg J. Lepper
  • Laura Overturf
  • Bryan Scott
  • Susan Stith
  • Janette Taaffe
  • Karen E. Nolte
    Chief Executive Officer

Advocacy Board

  • Leonard Adreon**
  • Norman Baxter
  • Anna Mayer Beck**
  • Catie Beykirch
  • Dean Boeschen
  • Valori Bring
  • Stephen J. Burrows
  • Kent A. Chancellor
  • Sally Danforth
  • Dannae Delano
  • Sherry B. Delo
  • James Elder
  • Jim Erlinger**
  • Thomas L. Ferris
  • Ryan Freeman
  • Sarah Fuhrmann
  • Thomas Gall
  • Albert Haller
  • Anna Harris
  • James Hart
  • John D. Heithaus
  • Phyllis A. Hoff
  • Christine Homan
  • Scott Homan
  • Sam Hopmeier
  • Don Imholz
  • John J. Irace
  • Liz Johnson
  • Lorraine Kee
  • Joseph Kelley
  • Mary Jane King
  • Asha S. Lundal
  • Kjell Lundal
  • Michael Manchisi
  • Debbie Marshall
  • Ada McHaney
  • Deborah L. Morley
  • Allison C. Nash, MD
  • Heather Rhodes
  • Margie Sacks
  • Kathy Siddens
  • Ellen C. Smith
  • Steve Smith
  • Jackie Watson
  • Nancy Weaver, PhD
  • Lina A. Young