Child to Family Connections was incorporated in April 2002 as a private, nonprofit licensed foster care agency in Crawford County. The agency was the vision of the founder Karen Cross. Its purpose was to help foster families become licensed and receive placements. The agency has grown in numbers and programs. CFC now employs over 30 full and part-time employees. We provide many licensed and contracted services in Crawford, Venango, and Clarion Counties. Services include Home and Community Services, Foster Care, State Wide Adoption Network (SWAN), Family Group Decision Making, and Transitional Housing.
Karen was destined to work with people and advocate for individuals and families to have lives that were enriching and meaningful. As early as her high school years she worked to include people with disabilities into the mainstream, to become part of their community. She and her husband settled in Crawford County, Pennsylvania to raise their family. Karen vowed to become a part of the community and make a difference through the social service community.
She strived to help individuals labeled with developmental disabilities to have lives that had meaning, and participation in places “where everybody knows your name”. She began through Crawford Care Management, a nonprofit agency providing case management. She worked closely with the Crawford County Mental Health/Intellectual Disability Department and a staff of experienced and devoted Case Managers. Consolidation led to the merger of these duties within the County Human Services Department.
After much thought and family discussion, Karen founded, “Child to Family Connections”, a non-profit agency whose roots began at the Cross family kitchen table. Karen believed that there could be a better approach to housing and safety for children placed in foster care, never having a forever home, and growing up in a system with temporary parents is not the life they deserved. Working with a passionate Board of Directors and incredibly committed staff, Child to Family Connections Inc. was born in 2002.
In the last 16 years, Child to Family Connections, (CFC) has worked with the Human Services Departments to place over 50 children in forever, adoption homes and provided many more with loving foster care families.
Over the years, Karen was supported by the Board and local Counties to create the agency that encompassed so many of the community groups she was driven to support: foster children, adults and students with disabilities, families and young adults struggling to get a foothold as adults.
In 2018 Karen retired as the Executive Director of Child to Family Connections. It was a difficult decision to leave the great friendships and partnerships with so many who became part of the CFC family over the years. It was much easier for her knowing that the values and advocacy of CFC will continue as the Directorship is transferred to a long time CFC staff, Bre Chisholm. Karen looks forward to “what comes next” living in a community that is embracing community change and advocacy.
Dr. Connie Youngblood – Chair
Mike Costa – Vice Chair
Mike Fields – Secretary
Ryan Smith – Treasurer
Dr. Lauren Paulson
Dr. Kelli Trenga