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Triad Advocate of the Year & Volunteer of the Year Awards

Adoption Network Cleveland is proud to honor individuals each year who have influenced the wider community through advocacy and outreach efforts in child welfare, improved the lives of children and teens waiting for adoption, and enhanced the experiences of members of the adoption triad. This award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption and child welfare field in Ohio as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. 

Winners over the years include – April Dinwoodie, adoptee, Donaldson Adoption Institute; Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch; Jean Strauss, filmmaker; Nickie Antonio, State Representative; Dominique Moceanu, Olympian and author; Danita Harris, NewsChannel 5; Jim Ewinger, The Plain Dealer.

Carlin Culbertson, and Jenny Stotts are our 2022 Triad Advocates of the Year

Carlin Culbertson

We are thankful for Carlin’s Board service and leadership here, however, his nomination and selection is for his good and faithful service in the name of advocacy for the triad and child welfare outside of his volunteer Board service with us.  

Carlin provides steady and sustained leadership and advocacy in the greater community on behalf of children and young adults impacted by foster care and adoption.  

Carlin currently serves on the Great Lakes Ohio Regional Child Abuse and Child Neglect Prevention Council. As a part of the council, he works to distribute funds across different regions of Ohio to prevent child abuse. He was also recently made Chair of the Ohio Trust Fund Parent Advisory Council, which will meet to provide feedback to improve Ohio state agencies' services to children and families.   

In 2015, Carlin was asked to be a part of the Cleveland community leaders that interview applicants to the Sullivan-Deckard Scholars program at the Pratt Center at Cleveland State University, making decisions on scholarship awards and program acceptance. The Sullivan-Deckard Scholars program provides an opportunity for former foster youth to pursue an undergraduate degree with support. Carlin also donates his time to meet with each Sullivan-Deckard student before they graduate to answer financial questions they may have, such as how to get a car loan or establish good credit.   

Additionally, Carlin and his wife Megan are also foster parents and advocate publicly for individuals to become foster parents for children in need.  

Carlin, thank you for your work on behalf of at-risk adopted and foster care children, making a significant difference in the lives of youth in foster care and alumni. Congratulations! 


Jenny Stotts, MS, LSW

In 2022, Ohio created a system that gives youth whose lives are touched by the child welfare system a voice and a safety net – the Youth Ombudsman. In May, Governor DeWine appointed Jenny Stotts to serve as Ohio’s first-ever Youth Ombudsman. Lisa Dickson of Action Ohio notes that “In the eyes of the child welfare community, and most importantly the youth, Jenny was the perfect choice.” 
Prior to accepting the Youth Ombudsman position, Jenny served as the Executive Director of the Athens County Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Program and the Regional Coordinator of CASA in Southeast Ohio. Jenny’s professional experience also included direct practice in child protective services as a caseworker and forensic interviewer.  

Jenny Stotts is trauma informed, and exemplifies a sense of urgency as well as a commitment to system improvement. She continues to demonstrate her respect for those with lived experience and her receptiveness to youth voice by inviting their insights on the case flow process of the Youth Ombudsman Office, and their ideas on outreach and promotion. 

In addition to her professional work, Jenny continues as an active volunteer in the community. She has hosted multiple youth events, including the first Southeast Ohio Thanksgiving Dinner for foster youth and adoptees in 2015, and has continued to support the event each year as a volunteer in planning, executing, and working the event. She is a charter member and past president of the Athens Sunrise Rotary and a Make a Wish Foundation volunteer.  

Whether working as an Ombudsman or volunteering, Jenny speaks from the heart about her personal experiences with foster care, adoption, and finding family, including the ups and downs of searching for family. 

It is our honor to present Youth Ombudsman, Jenny Stotts, with a 2022 Triad Advocate of the Year Award. Thank you, and congratulations, Jenny!

Previous Triad Advocate of the Year Winners

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award (formerly the Founder’s Award) recognizes outstanding volunteer service, the spirit by which this organization was founded in 1988 and remains critical today. Those of you who know Adoption Network Cleveland’s history know that Executive Director Betsie Norris was a volunteer for seven years building the organization before she came on staff in 1995.


Previous Volunteer Award Winners