Adoption Social Worker
Ashley began working at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center in May of 2023 as a Child Permanency Social Worker. Ashley is working within the SWAN program and focuses on providing the Child Specific Recruitment unit of service which is used to help children in foster care find permanent homes. Ashley also provides the Child Preparation unit of service to prepare children for permanency. Prior to this position, Ashley had five years’ experience at another affiliate agency doing several different units of service through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN). Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Clarion University in 2015
Erika G. Schmitt, MSW, LSW
Director of Counseling and Family Support Services
As Director of Adoption and Permanency Services, Erika is responsible for overseeing all functions of the full-service Infant Adoption Program, State Wide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) program, county foster care placement services, and counseling services. Erika also works directly with clients providing infertility , pre-adoption, and birthparent counseling sessions and running monthly support groups for infertility and birthparents. Erika was integral in starting up the SWAN program and county foster care placement services at The Children’s Home, beginning in 2012. She also recently began expanding the program’s Counseling Services, which in addition to post adoption counseling, now include counseling for donor conceived individuals, recipient parents, and those using artificial reproductive technology to conceive.
Erika has been at The Children’s Home since 2006, working as a birthparent counselor, birthparent counseling services supervisor, and manager of the SWAN Program, prior to becoming Director of Adoption & Permanency Services in early 2019. Prior to her position at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh, Erika worked for over 4 years as a Psychiatric Specialty Counselor for an adolescent drug and alcohol research program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and remained on staff as a Behavioral Health Counselor, conducting diagnostic interviews and performing program management duties on a casual basis until May of 2018. She earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Social Work through The University of Pittsburgh and obtained her social work license in 2006.
Lauren is a Licensed Social Worker, who graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a master’s in social work and has a background working in The Child Welfare System. In 2018, she joined The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh Adoption and Permanency Department and has been assisting families to adopt from the foster care system. Lauren works in several areas of the Adoption Department, including foster care, SWAN Units of Service, training and Birthparent Counseling.
Jodi Horn, BS
Adoption Program Assistant
Jodi began working at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh in January of 2014. She is the Adoption Program Assistant for our Full-Service Infant Adoption Program and Home Study Services. Some of Jodi’s duties include managing adoptive files, preparing legal documents, traveling with social workers as necessary, and preparing statistical reports for all adoption programs.
Brittany Kline, MSW, LSW
Brittany began working at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center in May of 2015 as a Permanency Social Worker. Brittany currently works as a Birthparent Specialist, helping birthparents navigate the adoption process and providing counseling and support before, during, and after placement. Brittany also helps to prepare children for permanency by delivering Child Preparation, Child Profile, Child Specific Recruitment, and Family Profile units of service through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN). Prior to this position, Brittany had previous internships at Three Rivers Adoption Council and A Second Chance, Inc. Brittany earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development and Family Relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.
Kristie Lindblom, MA
Permanency Social Worker
Kristie Lindblom, MA (she/her) is an adaptable and engaging interdisciplinary trainer and permanency social worker with experience in the fields of wellness, psychology, somatics, social and emotional learning (SEL), adult education, online learning, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Kristie’s professional interests lie at the intersections between brain science, movement, learning, and healing. She presently utilizes her skills to support youth in the foster care system and their families throughout the permanency process. She has made contributions to research in the fields of psychology, health care, and biomedical engineering. A former dancer and experienced educator, Kristie has taught university level courses in Stage Movement, Somatic Preparation for Dancers, Meditation and Mindfulness, and Wellness. She has experience in both online and brick and mortar classrooms. Kristie has trained other professionals in the topics of brain science, trauma, human development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and neurodivergence.
Amanda Lowe, BS
SWAN Program Manager
As the Permanency Supervisor of the Statewide Adoption Network Program (SWAN) at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh, Amanda oversees the daily supervision of the SWAN Program. Amanda provides clinical supervision to the SWAN staff performing SWAN units of service. Amanda began working at The Children’s Home in April of 2013 as a Permanency Social Worker. Amanda also has a small SWAN caseload and focuses on preparing children for permanency by providing SWAN referred units of service. Prior to working at the Children’s Home, Amanda provided SWAN permanency services and managed a foster care caseload with out of home care children for three years. Amanda also previously worked at a residential treatment facility with adolescent females for four years. Amanda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitative Sciences with a concentration in Substance Abuse from Penn West Clarion (formally Clarion University of Pennsylvania).
Joe Ritacco, MS, LPC
Permanency Social Worker
Joe is as an Adoption Social Worker at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor. Joe is responsible for coordinating all aspects of transitional infant care services, completing home studies, matching and finalization services for potential adoptive parents, and facilitating Post Adoption Contact Agreements (PACA) for birth and adoptive families of The Children’s Home and for the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN.) Joe also provides individual, couples, and group counseling services for clients experiencing infertility and for pre and post adoption counseling.
Prior to this position, Joe worked as a mental health therapist at a rape crisis center in Washington, PA and at a center for abused/neglected children here in Pittsburgh. Joe earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at The University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree from California University of Pennsylvania. He has been in the social service, mental health field for over 26 years.
Kristin Morris Thompson, MSW
Adoption Social Worker
Kristin began working at The Children’s Home in 1989 as a Birthparent Counselor but has worn many hats within the adoption department over the years. Currently she is overseeing the Search and Reunion Services provided for adoptees, birthparents and family members through The Children’s Home. Kristin also facilitates Post Adoption Contact Agreements (PACA) through SWAN and the agency infant adoptions. She also provides post adoption counseling as well as long term open adoption facilitation and mediation for birth and adoptive families. Kristin earned her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.
SWAN Program Assistant
Melanie is the SWAN Program Assistant and joined The Children’s Home in 2016. She is the mother of 3 children (one adopted from foster care!). She loves talking to families about foster care adoption and keeping all their paperwork organized. When not at work, she can be found reading and drinking way too much tea.