Our Staff

Don
Executive Director

Don Kleinfelder

Don Kleinfelder is the Executive Director for Child Advocates of Placer County, a role he assumed in 2006. Under his guidance, Child Advocates has grown the Placer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) from serving 25 foster youth with a $125,000 budget in 2006 to over 400 foster and at-risk youth with a $1.2M budget in 2021-22. He also oversaw the creation of several Family Services programs, including Family Mentors and Prosper Placer, which serves over 100 at-risk parents annually. This “Whole-Family Approach” reflects the realization that to address the needs of the child without also considering the needs of the parent(s) often makes change difficult or impossible.

Mr. Kleinfelder holds a MS in Hydrology/Hydrogeology from the University of Nevada-Reno, and prior to entering the non-profit sector, worked in the private sector as a hydrogeologist, focusing on groundwater remediation. He is a past Board Member for the Nonprofits’ Insurance Alliance of California, the California CASA Association and the Knack and Buena Hazard Foundation. He is the former co-chair of the Placer Collaborative Network and the former Chair of the Placer County Community Services Commission. Don has also been a CASA volunteer for five teenage foster youth.

After enjoying over 17 years as the Executive Director of Child Advocates of Placer County, Don Kleinfelder is stepping into retirement! The Board of Directors is currently seeking highly qualified candidates; learn more HERE.

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Family Services Director

Katja PollmanN

Katja Pollmann, Director of Family Services, holds an M.A. from the University of Hamburg, Germany in Sociology, Latin American Studies and Economics. In 2017 Katja joined Child Advocates of Placer County to create the Prosper Placer program. In 2021 she assumed the role of Director of Family Services, overseeing all our Family programs, including the expansion of Family Mentors through the Parent Empowerment Group, the creation of Immigrating Advocacy within Prosper Placer, and the launch of the Kinship Allies program, supporting kin caregivers.

Katja enjoys building networks across social lines, believing strongly in the power of connecting people from very different paths of life and different cultures so that they can help and learn from each other. Katja loves bringing extraordinary people together who wish to help each other.

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Youth Services Director

Carmen HIll

Prior to joining Child Advocates of Placer County as our Director of Youth Services, Ms. Hill worked in the telecommunications industry where she held leadership roles in Global Programs, Operations, and Collaborative Communities.  She earned her MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Economics from CSUS.

Carmen is also a former CAPC Board Member having served as Chair and Vice-Chair during her term.  Her passion lies in unleashing untapped potential and enabling success for individuals, teams, organizations, and communities. She does this through leadership, partnering, coaching, helping, and doing.

Carmen enjoys hiking, biking, weekend getaways, gardening and spending time with her husband, son, two dogs, and friends.

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Marketing & Development Director

Jamie Wright

Jamie comes to Child Advocates of Placer County with a passion for Donor Cultivation and unique enthusiasm for fundraising. Drawing from her background in non-profit copy writing and social media management, Jamie hopes to tell the poignant story of CAPC's work online and to build new pathways for partnership with our generous supporters.

“As a CASA and a Be Bold Partner, I’ve seen the difference it makes when we come alongside the most vulnerable kids in our community as they navigate a complicated, often scary, juvenile dependency or justice system. Understandably, not everyone can be a volunteer, but through financial contributions everyone can be part of the team that makes a CASA possible. It’s an honor for me to publicly celebrate the ongoing success of the children and families we serve, to champion our hard-working volunteers, and to thank our generous donors.”

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Community Partnership & Events

Julie Stark

Julie Stark has been a CASA volunteer since January 2008. Over the years she has handled several CASA cases and spent a couple of years as a mentor. In early 2017 Julie became a Family Mentor. Julie retired January 2017 after 25 years working in the corporate world as a Director of Global Accounts for American Express. Over the years she had expressed an interest in joining the CAPC team to help raise “a ton of money” as Don Kleinfelder kindly reminder her. Julie is excited to be working with Jamie and Don and looks forward to helping raise a lot of money. 

“I cut out the article and taped it on my refrigerator and after 6 months of looking at it I decided to make the call and go to an orientation. I was hooked after my first case. I love what we do and the stories that are shared are heartwarming. We have the BEST volunteers, and I am in awe of all they do for us and the children we serve. I have a very active role in all the events we put on. I really enjoy getting to talk and mingle with our supporters at any event we have.   We couldn’t do what we do without them!”

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Youth services - CASA / VOLUNTEER TRAINING

Susie Klinefelter

Susie has been a volunteer with Child Advocates since 2014 as a CASA, Family Mentor, K9s 4 Kids volunteer, Court Supervisor, and also a Volunteer Case Supervisor.  Prior to joining CASA, she worked with children and adolescents professionally in the mental health, education, and recreation fields.  She has a degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Recreation Therapy and worked in acute psychiatric settings for six years as a Recreation Therapist and Program Director.

Following that, she worked as the Business Administrator of a small private parent-participation elementary school for eleven years.  She is also the Director of an overnight summer camp in the Monterey area and has been doing that for the past 30 summers.  She and her husband have raised two sons and many dogs in Roseville and continue to enjoy spending time with family, friends, and all kinds of animals.  Her hobbies include hosting pub trivia, cooking, traveling, and reading.

I believe that giving back and helping those in need is essential to a healthy, happy, and productive community.  Everyone has strengths and gifts to share, and to be able to support those volunteers that want to share those strengths with some of the most vulnerable in our community is a privilege and an honor.  To be able to see the enormous impact the CASA program has on foster kids is incredibly gratifying and something I am proud to be a part of.

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Youth Services - Be Bold

Taylor

Taylor has been working at Child Advocates since 2014. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Sacramento State University. She also studied Journalism and Early Childhood Development and worked as the Editor-in-Chief and featured writer in the newspaper there. She has experience working in visitation with a private foster agency and has volunteered at Shiners Hospitals for Children in the Therapeutic Child Life Center. She has been working with children coaching, mentoring, and teaching in many capacities since she was a teenager. Her passion to serve children and people has allowed her to travel to Spain, Italy, Scotland, Jamaica, France, Germany, Holland, and Mexico.

I have always loved working with youth! Over the years, I have had the opportunity to spend time with, and learn about children from all over the world. Through that, I have realized that my heart really lies with those who are living in poverty and are a part of the foster care system. When I first happened upon Child Advocates of Placer County I was immediately intrigued. The mission statement and programs were right up my alley. A good chunk of my background has been through volunteering, so seeing that this organization was volunteer-run was so impressive and inspiring to me! To see so many people coming together for an incredible cause, that speaks volumes. I am still, after all these years, inspired every day by the people I have met through our program. I now get to work and volunteer with some of my closest friends!

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Youth Services - Level Up

Jason Allen

Jason has been with Child Advocates of Placer County since 2017.  He has over 15 years of experience working with children and families in various communities, with a focus on high needs/risk youth with significant mental health, severe emotional and behavioral, and youth with juvenile corrections challenges.

Based on my previous experience working with youth and families, joining Child Advocates was an easy decision after relocating back to California.  It is important to me that they see someone willing to invest them and meet them where they are, help to build their capacities, and empower them to be able to take ownership back over their own lives.  Programming through Child Advocates has allowed me to do what I do well and continue helping those who at the moment, may not be able to advocate for themselves. Being in a position to jumpstart our youth and families rebuilding their sense of purpose, family, and community and watching the growth that comes from their ability to see their strengths is the outcome I hope to see doing this work.  To me, it is about being able to give back. We all did not get to where we are without a little help from others who saw the potential in us, even when we did not recognize it in ourselves. Now it is my turn to pay it forward.

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Youth Services - CASA / K9s 4 Kids

Linsey Burd

Linsey moved from Scotland in 2016, where she worked for 25+ yrs as a registered psychiatric nurse, gaining many years of experience engaging with, and supporting vulnerable families affected by mental illness and addiction. Linsey has a B.A. in Health Studies and an M.Sc. in Advanced Practice in Mental Health and feels her professional and academic experiences have enabled her to work in a thoughtful and compassionate way with vulnerable members of the community.

Linsey has always been driven to work to help others and was attracted to volunteer by the vision and purpose of Child Advocates of Placer County. She has been a volunteer since 2017; enjoying a variety of roles, volunteering as a CASA, a family mentor, a volunteer case supervisor and being part of the court supervisors' team. She believes this experience will enhance her ability to work as part of the staff team for this amazing organization.

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Prosper Placer - Immigration Services

Frida Diaz

Ms. Diaz holds a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She has experience in the Human Services field working with immigrant children, youth, and families. Before Child Child Advocates, Frida was working with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) to ensure unaccompanied minors were obtaining an education, medical, and mental health resources.

Growing up in a low-income community I witnessed, poverty, crime, and the lack of resources available for families in need. Growing up in that environment I always knew I wanted to help my community and I sought out programs that would lessen and alleviate poverty. Over time this sentiment grew into a career goal in the Human Services field, thus obtaining the Program Assistant position for Prosper Placer.

Being involved with Child Advocates of Placer County has allowed me to assist, support, and provide resources for low-income families. This work is rewarding in itself; however, the most meaningful outcome has been witnessing families continuously work on achieving their goals and build a genuine relationship with their allies.

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fAMILY Services - KINSHIP / Parent empowerment group

Hannah Clyde

Prior to coming to work for Child Advocates, Hannah participated in the Child Advocates of Placer County Family Mentor Program. She obtained her Real Estate license while in the Acres of Hope Transitional Housing Program. Upon graduating and moving from Acres in 2019, she went to work for a property management company. She then went to work for Advocates for the Mentally Ill Housing, before Coming to Child Advocates and Graduating from our Prosper Placer Program.

Ms. Clyde has experienced personal and family challenges with mental health, addiction, and dysfunction, which makes her uniquely suited to work with parents in our Family Mentor program. She states, “In my journey, it was the people who reached out to take the journey with me that made all the difference, so I feel extremely fortunate to be able to connect with families who are striving to make changes for themselves and their children. It has been a wonderful experience to get to know the volunteers that make our programs possible! In my time at Child Advocates, I have met some of the most giving and kind people that pour their hearts into our clients.”

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Family Services - Family Mentor / Parent Empowerment Group

Kristi Varnum

Prior to joining Child Advocates of Placer County, Kristi was a Peer Support Staff for Sierra Native Alliance where she also a Child Care Assistant. During that time, she also worked privately as a personal assistant for one whom she claims forever changed her life. For most of her professional life, however, Kristi worked in various aspects of the healthcare field, which she always found extremely rewarding, yet challenging.

I really enjoy my role here at Child Advocates, and through my own experience, strength, and hope – I feel that I have a lot to offer families fighting the battle that I have fought myself. I take pride in all my successes, although they may seem small to some. I have conquered so much in my life and want to share with others. What is unique to the Family Mentor program is that we take special care to match our clients with the best possible Mentor for them and we do our best to help support our clients in their healthy choices. By helping the parents, we know that we are helping the children.

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Database & Events

Jen Hobdy

Jen has always been one to be an active volunteer. As her daughters were growing up, she was involved in PTA, organized swim team volunteers, and was a volleyball team mom. Along with her girls, she also has volunteered for many years at the Placer SPCA. Jen was also focused on her career in residential home design for many years, before starting her own business from home. These experiences have shaped her into who she is today. Now that her girls are venturing off to college, she decided it was time for a life change.

“I found Child Advocates of Placer County just at the right time in my life. My husband and I are much less busy with our girls as they have grown up and become independent young ladies. I found I needed a new focus. Volunteering as a CASA was a perfect fit. Being a volunteer is so rewarding. When a job opened at CAPC, I jumped at the opportunity to become more involved in this organization. I believe in my whole heart I am where I am supposed to be, helping to make a difference in the lives of children who need it the most.”

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Youth Services - CASA / Independent living program

Jose Huizar

Before joining Child Advocates of Placer County, I completed my M.A. in Applied Cultural Anthropology at San Diego State University in 2015, where I developed a background in international research. As a graduate student, I completed my thesis work in a rural community in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I worked alongside a community support group for elders who had been left behind by migrant family members. In addition to my thesis work, I led a U.S.-Mexico research team that examined the process of deportation at shelters in Tijuana, Baja California. I also volunteered at a children’s after-school mentoring program in Oaxaca, Mexico, and at a center for unaccompanied immigrant children in San Diego, California. After moving to Roseville from San Diego in 2015, my passion for continuing to serve those who are most vulnerable in our community led me to join the Child Advocates team and its mission.

As part of the Child Advocates team, the most meaningful outcome for me is to see the impact our volunteers make in the lives of the kids they serve. It is an absolute honor and pleasure to work alongside such a wonderful community of people who positively affect the lives of others. To wrap one’s mind around the fact that our volunteers step forward to help support the kids and families in our community during unimaginable dire circumstances is remarkable.

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Recruitment & Outreach

Megan Pierce

With ten years of experience working with at-risk children through foster care agencies, mentorship, teaching, and volunteer opportunities, Megan carries a life-long passion for child advocacy. Megan holds a B.A. in Intercultural Studies and prior to joining CAPC she worked for an international nonprofit, creating content for global health and community development initiatives for vulnerable women and children worldwide.

In 2019, Megan served under a social worker in Uganda for children facing emergency placement needs, and later become a transitional housing case manager for teens entering adulthood. Megan’s passion for seeing at-risk youth thrive in her own community led her to volunteer as a CASA and Be Bold mentor, and later to join the team at Child Advocates in 2022. Megan enjoys being outdoors, traveling, art & photography, and getting to know each of our new CASA volunteers!

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Family Services - FAMILY MENTOR

Selena Owen

Prior to Child Advocates, Selena worked as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor (Intern) at Granite Wellness Center for almost 4 years. She has also worked at a local animal shelter and as a Certified Nurse Assistant, helping the elderly and people with disabilities.

Selena comes to us with the unique perspective of having been through nearly every program that CACP offers. Before she overcame a 20 year cycle of addiction in her own life, her children had CASAs who made a positive impact on them. Eventually, Selena joined the Family Mentor program for support to maintain her sobriety and strengthen her life. She went on to graduate from the Prosper Placer program, having gained the additional skills she needed to create a safe, stable home where her family could thrive.

In addition to her soon-to-be completed CADCII Certification, Selena looks forward to drawing upon her unique personal experience to help CAPC serve the most vulnerable people in our community better than ever.

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Prosper Placer - Program Facilitator

Flor Flores

Flor Flores holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from California State University of Sacramento. Prior to coming to Child Advocates Flor enjoyed working with elementary and middle school children as a tutor during High School. While attending college Flor worked for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders where she grew a passion for working with children and families. Flor first decided to go into Political Science to be a part of a change and seek equality and justice for all. Flor soon realized she wanted to have a more direct and personal impact on families' lives leading her to pursue a minor in sociology and a career in which she could help families one on one. 

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Family Services - Case Manager Assistant

De Anna Martin

Before joining Child Advocates of Placer County, De Anna graduated from the Acres of Hope transitional housing program, while successfully reunifying with her children in 2016. With 10 years of leadership experience and solution-based thinking, she is great match for CAPC. After experiencing a life changing medical condition, De Anna was inspired to share her experience and offer hope to those overcoming homelessness, addiction, and living with a disability.

While volunteering in the Family Services Department in 2021, DeAnna showed unique ability to work with some of our most untrusting parents. As her passion grew to a difference in the lives of the people in her community grew, De Anna pursued an internship at Child Advocates through the Depart of Rehabilitation. De Anna was hired as a Case Manager Assistant in the Family Mentor and Parent Empowerment Group in January 2023.

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Youth Services - CASA / Out of County Placements

April Williams

April joins Child Advocates of Placer County with more than 10 years of experience in the political arena as a legislative assistant for a prominent government relations firm where she worked to preserve Tribal Rights and to strengthen laws around and aimed at improving access to medical care, housing, and education for those in underserved communities. Before joining CAPC, April served as both a CASA volunteer and as a Volunteer Case Supervisor.  

In addition to being a Case Supervisor, April currently runs CAPC’s Court Supervisor Team and serves as our Out of County Coordinator, helping to ensure that the needs of youth placed out of Placer County are still met and ensuring that their voices are heard.  

It’s April’s belief that a true leader is “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people…and who possesses the courage to develop that potential”. It is such an honor to work alongside an incredible group of volunteers that seek to step into the role of being leaders for the youth in our community. 

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PEG Case Manager

TANYA MARK

Tanya comes to Child Advocates of Placer County with extensive life experiences with the child welfare system, both as a parent who has lived experience with Placer County Child Protective Services and as a Family Support Coordinator for Sierra Native Alliance. In her six years at Sierra Native Alliance, her duties included Family advocacy, case management, facilitation of child & family team meetings, communication with CPS workers, facilitation of outpatient classes, data entry, and was an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) counselor.

Tanya is excited to start this new journey in her life and have the chance to give back to the community that helped her in her time of need. 

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Volunteer Engagement Coordinator - Yuba County

Nicole Rubio

Dedicated and deeply committed to the Yuba Sutter community for over 16 years, Nicole Rubio is a passionate advocate and community leader. As an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce and a valued member of its leadership team, Nicole has played a pivotal role in fostering local business growth and economic development. In addition to these roles, Nicole serves as a devoted board member for the Yuba Sutter Foodbank, contributing to the fight against hunger in our community. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to found and lead the Yuba Sutter Professionals Network, connecting professionals and promoting collaboration. Furthermore, her compassionate heart shone through in the creation and management of Rolling Relief, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting NICU families during challenging times. Recognized as one of John Garamendi Women of the Year in 2021 for her volunteer work. Nicole was awarded the Community Service award by the Sutter Yuba Assoc of Realtors in 2022. Continuing to be an inspirational force for positive change in the Yuba Sutter region her work with CASA of Placer and Yuba Counties is a perfect fit!

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Case Manager - Yuba County

Lea West

With over 15 years of dedicated experience in social services, Lea has committed herself to making a meaningful difference in the lives of at-risk youth. Her journey began with working in foster agencies and group homes, where she provided support and guidance to individuals navigating challenging circumstances. Transitioning into roles within juvenile probation and psychiatric settings, she honed her expertise in addressing the complex intersection of mental health and juvenile justice, striving to offer holistic care and intervention. Alongside these endeavors, she collaborated with the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), assisting youth with disabilities in securing employment opportunities or pursuing higher education, fostering their independence and empowerment.

Lea’s academic background, a B.S in criminology, coupled with her experiences as a CASA volunteer during college further enriched her understanding of systemic issues and reinforced her passion for advocating for children's rights and family reunification. Beyond Lea’s professional pursuits, she finds solace and joy in outdoor adventures, particularly hiking, and cherishes moments spent traveling with her loved ones. Additionally, as a California real estate agent, Lea brings a diverse skill set and perspective to her endeavors, embodying a commitment to serving others and contributing positively to her community. With a multifaceted approach rooted in empathy, advocacy, and resilience, she continues to strive towards fostering brighter futures for youth and families in need.

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