Get to know the staff of Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association
DeAnna Alonso is currently the President/CEO of the Central Missouri Foster Care &Adoption Association (CMFCAA), which serves 13 counties in central Missouri.
DeAnna was the founder of CMFCAA in October 2008, along with two adoptive parents and one foster parent. DeAnna’s passion is derived from having been raised in the foster care system, ageing out of the system at 18 years old, only to become homeless after emancipation. DeAnna has served as the Executive Director of CMFCAA from 2009-2016. She has served as the President/CEO since 2016. DeAnna was selected as a Second Chance Scholarship Recipient from Zonta and pursued her education in her hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri.
DeAnna graduated in December 2012 after years of educational barriers. DeAnna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Lincoln University, where she graduated cum laude, and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Missouri. DeAnna also completed her certification in Executive Director 101 training from the Nonprofit Service Center in St. Louis, Missouri. DeAnna is a huge advocate of higher education and believes it can break the cycle of poverty. DeAnna strives to provide excellent resources, education, and advocacy for over 1,400 foster and adoptive children in central Missouri. In 2013, DeAnna’s excellence in serving these families was recognized when CMFCAA was named by the Missouri Department of Social Services as one of four Adoption Resource Centers in Missouri. DeAnna and her husband, Anibal, have four children, three of whom they were able to adopt from Kentucky’s state foster care system in 2009. DeAnna is active in many civic organizations such as a board member of the Asherah Foundation, Zonta, Columbia and Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce’s, Missouri Association for Social Welfare, National Foster Parent Association State Affiliate, Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a member of Memorial Baptist Church to name a few. DeAnna has also presented on various topics at the North American Council on Adoptable Children Conference, The ONE conference, conference presenter at the National Foster Parent Association Conference and has been the keynote speaker at the Homelessness Conference in Missouri.
Amanda Towns is currently the Operations Director for CMFCAA. Although Amanda holds a degree in photography, her passion is serving people. Amanda grew up in a great family in New Mexico who modeled serving others as family. She and her husband, Mark, have been long time believers in taking care of children and families. They have spent over 20 years of marriage in ministry roles (Mark is the pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson City) as well as serving as foster parents, respite providers, and adoptive parents. They have four adopted children, two of whom were adopted from the Missouri foster care system. When the Towns family moved to Jefferson City in 2009, one of the most exciting opportunities that presented itself was the opportunity to volunteer with CMFCAA. What started out as a volunteer position for Amanda has turned into an opportunity to communicate and build relationships with foster and adoptive parents, volunteers, and community supporters all across central Missouri. Today, Amanda actively advocates and speaks on behalf of CMFCAA and the foster and adoptive families that are served. She dreams of one day having a whole weekend just to herself where she can read all day if she wants to. She has served at CMFCAA since 2010.
Sue Engelage, entered the Foster System 1999 she was five years old. When she first entered, it was with her two older siblings. Sometime in 2000 she went back to her biological mother, a few months in she was in the system again. This time she was all alone. This time she didn’t just get placed once but multiple times. When she was 9 she lost her hearing, no one believed her so she spent the whole summer of 2004, without hearing. August 2004, is when everyone finally realized Sue really was deaf. That summer her whole life changed because in August of 2004 she found her parents.
After being in the system for five years she was finally adopted in December 2005 by her parents Vic and Lynda Engelage. She found her home, her family and that is where she learned that there is nothing wrong with having a family that isn’t blood.
Growing up Sue always felt like she was supposed to work with children, foster children. After her experience in the foster system, she wanted to help children who would follow her. After graduating from High School in 2013 from Russellville, she attended the University of Central Missouri. Sue graduated December of 2016, with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations.
Sue started working at Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association January 30, 2016 as the Program Coordinator. Since she started, Sue has enjoyed every single moment, because she gets the chance to help the children who need it. The children who need a voice. Sue was chosen to go to Washington D.C., for the National Foster Youth Initiative, where she hopes to learn more about the foster system in other states.
Jessica grew up in a small rural town in Missouri. She is the middle child of a blended family of five sisters and proud aunt of three. Jessica has always been creative and artistic, with a heart for children which naturally led her to pursue a degree in Art Education.
While obtaining her degree at Missouri Western State University, Jessica began working for a residential and respite care group where she found her true passion in working with and serving families with underprivileged and at risk children. The children in this home gripped Jessica’s heart and changed her life for the better every day. Jessica’s faith and family are the foundation of everything she does. She loves serving others and has enjoyed her times getting to work at church camps for kids, volunteering with nursing homes and YMCA, and spending a spring break with Bhutanese refugees in Nashville. Jessica is passionate about spending her life working to provide a better future for children in Missouri in whatever form that presents itself.
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Sarah was born and raised in the Lake of the Ozarks area. For the past twelve years she has lived in Jefferson City. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Central Missouri in 2003. Since then Sarah has gained extensive knowledge in child welfare during her thirteen-year career with the Children’s Division, most recently specializing in adoption and guardianship.
Sarah is excited to start working for the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association, so that she may further her passion in advocating for children and families. Her goal is to bring awareness to the need of foster and adoptive homes for foster youth in Central MO, as well as to find permanent and long term connections for older youth.
We asked Sarah why she chose CMFCAA: “Over the years I have found that my passion is in advocating for families and finding every child a forever family. CMFCAA educates, advocates and supports foster & adoptive families in my community. I am happy to become part of this agency to contribute and give all I have to help in these efforts. In addition, adoption is important to me because it means a child or older youth will have a forever family and I believe every single child, no matter their age, deserves to have permanency. A family to be there in the best of times and in the worst of times.” We couldn’t agree more!
Sarah’s favorite hobbies are painting, crafting and wine tasting.
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573-476-6039 (COMO office)