Meet the Team
Chief Executive Officer
Stephen Pennypacker, Esq., is the CEO of IAAME. Mr. Pennypacker has more than 35 years’ experience in child welfare having worked as an attorney, administrator, and Assistant Secretary for Programs for the Florida Department of Children and Families. He was the Compact Administrator for the State of Florida for the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children and served as national president for four years. He was also the Deputy Director for Children’s Legal Services for the State of Florida and served as a General Magistrate for the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Florida. He has worked for the Eighth Circuit State Attorney’s office, managed the local pilot project for Children’s Legal Services, and spent 15 years in private practice. Mr. Pennypacker has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Duke University as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida. For ten years, he taught adoption law as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Kim Loughe is the Executive Director of Intercountry Adoption Accrediting and Maintenance Entity. Ms. Loughe has over 25 years’ experience working within the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the private child mental health and child welfare arenas. Prior to coming to IAAME, Ms. Loughe previously served as Director of Program Quality and Contract Management for Partnership for Strong Families. Ms. Loughe has an extensive background and experience in child welfare, children’s mental health, continuous quality improvement and accreditation activities and processes. Ms. Loughe has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Florida.
Renee Carson is the assistant to IAAME’s Executive Director and has over 30 years of experience in business management and high-level administrative support. Renee has worked as a self-employed seamstress, an event planner and has been an executive secretary for Vidal Sassoon Hair Appliances, an insurance agent for State Farm and Allstate, and an office manager for the University of Florida.
Brittany Phares has been working in the field of child welfare since 2011 and began her career as a Residential Supervisor for a behavioral health overlay services group home housing foster care youth. Prior to starting with IAAME in February 2018, Ms. Phares was an Adoption Program Supervisor where her focus involved reviewing and approving adoptive families, oversight of staff and cases, and monitoring data and outcomes within the adoptions program. While in this role, Ms. Phares led an adoptions unit to enhance best practices, an increase in adoption finalizations, and improvement in overall quicker paths to permanency through adoption for children in foster care. Ms. Phares is a certified trainer of the Rutgers Adoption Competency Training curriculum through the Florida Department of Children and Families and Daniel Memorial, Inc. Ms. Phares received her Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences with a minor in International Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Florida.
Amy Mullen has worked in child welfare since 2008 and has a passion for the field of adoption. She worked for several adoption service providers in many capacities including, pregnancy and birth parent counselor, home study social worker, domestic adoption coordinator/manager and international adoption manager/vice president. Additionally, Amy serves as a heritage journey staff with a non-profit. Amy was involved in an adoption services provider’s initial Hague Accreditation and lead another adoption service provider through renewal. She received her Bachelor degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware and her Master degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of St. Thomas. In addition, Amy has completed a Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate from the University of Minnesota.
Adam Nelson has been working in Child Welfare since 2010, and began his career as a domestic adoption case manager for AASK in Phoenix, AZ. He moved to Gainesville, FL in 2013, where he worked at Partnership for Strong Families as a case manager for three years and a supervisor for two years. Adam worked for the Texas Department of Family Services before coming to IAAME. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University.
Charity Provancal-Black began her career as a Counselor III with North Central Florida’s largest community behavioral health provider, traveling with adult and adolescent psychiatrists to provide mental health services and resources to rural communities. She then transitioned into the field of child welfare and became a Family Care Counselor. While working with families involved in the state dependency system, she would critically assess for child safety and work to seek family permanency, all while providing support to minimize the risks of abuse and neglect to the most vulnerable of populations. Prior to joining IAAME, Charity worked at Partnership for Strong Families, the local community based care child welfare agency of North Central Florida, as a Family Service Facilitator. Her duties included assessing for appropriate needs, authorizing and coordinating resources, and collaborating with community providers – all in order to provide children and families specialized services during their involvement with the dependency system. Charity holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, with a specialization in Human Services, from the University of Florida.
Allison “Allie” Hamel began working in intercountry adoption in 2006. Allie came to IAAME from an adoption services provider, where she worked as the International Program Manager. She has traveled extensively working with children and families, foreign supervised providers, and government officials around the world. During her time in the field, Allie helped to establish new intercountry adoption programs, guided families through their adoption journey, and conducted home studies. She was also involved in The Hague Accreditation and renewal process with her previous agency. Allie has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina.
Lillian Thogersen has worked in the international adoption field for over 40 years, beginning as a parent support group volunteer. She is a founding member of an adoption agency and has served on the Board of Directors for several organizations. Lillian’s has acted in the role of an Operations Manager, and for 10 years, as the Chief Executive Officer of an adoption agency. She worked to support the initial Hague Special Commission on Intercountry Adoption in the U.S. and was responsible for bringing the first American adoption agency through The Hague accreditation process. Lillian was among the first eleven CASA volunteer Guardian Ad-Litems and continues to serve in that capacity. She was a member of the Washington State Governor’s Sub-Committee on Adoption, working to update and improve state adoption law. Lillian received a Bachelor degree from Columbia University. She is a mother of nine children, her youngest being a birth child.
Deborah A. Schroth
Deborah Schroth, Esq., is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Juvenile Law. She is the Chief Legal Officer of Service Management Solutions for Children (SMS) and also serves as the General Counsel of Partnership for Strong Families, Inc. Ms. Schroth has more than 30 years’ experience working in family and children’s law, including child welfare, as an attorney, policy analyst and lobbyist. She worked as Training Director and Appellate Counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families and worked for 25 years in legal services working for the poor and underrepresented in Florida. She spent five years in private practice, as a generalist. Ms. Schroth has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Oregon, and an LLM in tax law from the University of Florida.