First Lady Kristin Cooper Presents Family Champion Awards at Children’s Home Society’s reTHINK Permanency Conference

June 29, 2023 – Greensboro, NC – On June 15, North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper presented the Family Champion Awards recognizing social workers across North Carolina who work to strengthen families, build families, and advocate for families. The awards were presented as a part of the reTHINK Permanency: Unlocking Pathways from Foster Care to Permanency Conference hosted by Children’s Home Society of NC (CHS) in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Those who received Family Champion Awards were:

  • Maurice “Mo” Beam, Placement Specialist, CHS, Morganton, NC
  • Cheryl Donahue-Wright, Social Worker – Communities in School, James B. Dudley High School – Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, NC
  • Lori McNeil, Intensive In-Home Specialist, CHS, Charlotte, NC
  • Teryl Bowen, Adoption Recruiter, Wake County Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC
  • Tiffany Bickel, Permanency Planning Supervisor, New Hanover Department of Social Services, Wilmington, NC

Addressing the award winners and attendees, Mrs. Cooper said, “It’s so wonderful to be in a room with people who are so invested in taking care of children and making their lives better. I’m really honored that you invited me to be here, and I’m honored to be around such great champions for children.”

Held in Raleigh, the reTHINK Permanency Conference brought together family service professionals and advocates from across the state to explore permanency planning for youth experiencing foster care. The awards ceremony luncheon was hosted by the Institute for Family, a program of CHS, and was underwritten by Blue Cross NC’s Healthy Blue Medicaid plan.

Conference participants attended keynote and breakout sessions to explore all paths that youth in care can take from foster care to permanency with family. Speakers and session leaders at the conference included families with lived expertise navigating child welfare systems and influencers in the child and family well-being movement.


The Institute for Family advocates for family well-being in NC and across the nation. The Institute is grounded in listening to families, trusting their lived expertise, and working with them to inform and inspire policies and practices that value families. The Institute capitalizes on Children’s Home Society’s 120-year history of providing direct services for families associated with the child welfare system. The Institute’s impact extends beyond the limits of traditional programs to address the broader conditions facing families that lead to child maltreatment.

Children’s Home Society is dedicated to its mission to promote the right of every child to a permanent, safe, and loving family by providing top-quality, evidence-based programs and services to children and families throughout North Carolina.  Our education and child welfare staff provided services to more than 20,000 individuals last year, educating and preserving families, supporting children and families through transitions, and creating new families.


About Children’s Home Society of North Carolina

Children’s Home Society offers a network of services and support throughout North Carolina to help establish and sustain healthy, loving relationships in every family. For 120 years, Children’s Home Society has provided a broad spectrum of programs and services including adoption, foster care, parenting education, family preservation, and teen responsibility. Children’s Home Society believes in the importance of family, not only in the life of a child but also in the foundation of a community. For more information, visit


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