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.

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Family Services Director

Katja Pollman

With an M.A. from the University of Hamburg, Germany in Sociology, Latin American Studies and Economics, Katja has worked in various leadership positions in Retail and Project Management at different German airports.

After moving to the U.S. in 2009 she continued to work in Retail but wanted to get engaged in social work and got introduced to the work of Child Advocates and the new Prosper Placer program. She immediately loved the idea of building networks across social lines and has been the Program Manager for almost two years.

She strongly believes in the power of bringing people from very different paths of life and different cultures together so that they can help and learn from each other. She loves all the Child Advocates events because they always bring extraordinary people together in their wish to help each other.

Katja lives with her husband and her three kids in Folsom where they enjoy the outdoors with their dog Bowie.

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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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Events & Office Coordinator

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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Development & Marketing Coordinator

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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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 - 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!

Linsey Burd
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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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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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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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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Youth Services - Team Coordinator

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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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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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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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.

Our life-changing programs are made possible by the generosity of others. Become a supporter today!