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.


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.

Brittany Kline, MSW, LSW

Birthparent Specialist

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.