A Home Within is the only national organization dedicated solely to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. We recruit mental health professionals who volunteer to see one foster child in weekly therapy—free of charge, for as long as it takes. More than 500 therapists have already worked with over 800 children, teens, and young adults and provided over 2500 therapy years to this highly vulnerable population. A Home Within now has 52 Local Chapters in 24 states, each headed by a local clinician who participates in our three-year Professional Fellowship in the Treatment of Foster Youth.
Founded in San Francisco in 1994 as the Children’s Psychotherapy Project, A Home Within is currently celebrating over 10 years as a national non-profit. The founder, Dr. Toni Vaughn Heineman, continues to serve as our Executive Director, and the therapist who saw our first client, Dr. Wendy von Wiederhold, has become our Program Director of Local Chapters. By helping communities to address a tragic problem of immense proportions—one child at a time, A Home Within has not only made a direct positive impact on the population we serve, but also become a model for other entrepreneurial non-profits. We have and always will adhere to our core goal, providing: “One child, one therapist, for as long as it takes."
A Home Within promotes the emotional health of foster children and youth and those who care for them by creating and supporting lasting, caring relationships. Our direct services, professional training, public awareness and advocacy efforts focus solely on enhancing the emotional well being of the foster care community.
We envision a world in which foster children are counted among those who have at least one adult who loves and cares for them.
Board of Directors
- Natalie Compagni Portis,
Natalie Compagni Portis
Natalie has been working in community mental health and private practice for 25 years. Her work has focused on adults, children and families experiencing trauma and loss, including working with individuals and families dealing with life threatening illness, and leading support groups for mothers with cancer. She has an interest in Child Parent Psychotherapy and extensive experience in dyadic treatment and assessment of young children.
- Diane Ehrensaft,
Diane is a developmental and clinical psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area with a specialty in gender studies and psychotherapy/ consultation with gender nonconforming children and youth and their families. She is a member of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and founding member of the PINC research group on reproductive technology. She is the author of “Raising Girlyboys: A Parent’s Perspective” (Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 2007), “One Pill Makes You Boy, One Pill Makes You Girl” (Journal of Applied Psychoanalysis, 2009), “When Boys Will Be Girls and Girls Will Be Boys” (Psychoanalytic Psychology, in press) and the forthcoming book, Gender Born, Gender Made: Gender-Creative Children and their Families. Dr. Ehrensaft has served on the faculty of The Wright Institute, Berkeley, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, Access Institute San Francisco, University of California, Berkeley, and Lone Mountain College, San Francisco. She is a founding member and past Vice President of the Board of Directors of A Home Within. She is a member of WPATH, and is also on the board of the Section on Childhood and Adolescence (Section II) and the Section, Psychoanalysts for Social Responsibility (Section IX) of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of APA. Her books include Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates (Guilford Publications, 2005), Building A Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman, Brookes Publishing Company, 2006), Spoiling Childhood (Guilford Publications, 1997), and Parenting Together: Men and Women Sharing the Care of Their Children (Free Press, 1987).
- Linda Fitzpatrick,
Linda Fitzpatrick is a senior advisor to biotechnology companies in the areas of Human Resources and Corporate Communications. Equipped with a BA in Sociology and Psychology, she has graciously served on several boards benefiting youth development, including the Northern California Boys and Girls Club. Linda spent her career as a leading national figure in biotechnology while sharpening her expertise in additional areas of investor and corporate relations for several firms such as Nuvelo and Gilead Sciences.
- Katharine Gould,
Katharine Gould is a graduate and faculty member of CAPPT, The Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program at the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis. She has a private practice in Lincoln Park, Chicago, where she sees children, adolescents, and adults. Since 1993 she has been a Child, Adolescent and Family psychotherapist and supervisor at the Therapeutic Day School associated with the Department of Psychiatry at the Rush Medical Center in Chicago. Ms. Gould has published articles on child psychotherapy and has presented her work at the Child-Analytic Institutes in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles.
- Michael Hansen,
Michael is the Chief Financial Officer of Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management Group in San Francisco. Over the past 17 years he has helped Wells Fargo grow its investment business and ability to serve high net worth customers acting as a finance manager of key functions including strategic and financial planning, performance analysis, acquisitions, systems, and controls. He is a graduate of Southwestern University and holds a BA in Business. Michael brings these skills and experience to A Home Within inspired by parenthood, his wife’s work in child welfare, and a deep desire to serve the community.
- Toni Vaughn Heineman,
Toni Vaughn Heineman
Toni Vaughn Heineman, LCSW, DMH, is the founder and Executive Director of A Home Within. She is Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, in Psychiatry and has been in private practice in San Francisco, working with adults, children, and families for over 30 years. Dr. Heineman consults with individuals and organizations. In addition to numerous appointments and awards, she is a commissioner on the Commission for Practice Excellence as well as a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America. She is the author of several articles focused on psychotherapy with children and has made numerous presentations to lay and professional audiences about the mental health issues facing children and parents. She authored An Abused Child: Psychodynamic Understanding and Treatment and co-edited Building A Home Within: Meeting the Emotional Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care. She has been awarded a Leadership Fellowship from Zero to Three, a Draper Richards Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, a Social Entrepreneur Award from the Manhattan Institute, the national Jefferson Award for outstanding public service, and the 2008 Civic Ventures Purpose Prize, given to social entrepreneurs over the age of 60.
- Rich Hill,
Rich is a management-side labor and employment lawyer in the San Francisco office of Littler Mendelson, where he has spent his entire 32 year career after 7 years on the Farm. He served as the Managing Partner of the firm's San Francisco office from 2006 through 2008. Rich previously served on the Board of Directors of Alternative Family Services, a foster care agency serving San Francisco, the North Bay and the East Bay. He has been legal counsel to Guide Dogs for the Blind for over 20 years. Rich is an avid Giants fan and a (self-described) pedestrian golfer.
- Johnny Madrid,
Mr. Madrid joined Lombardia Capital Partners in January 2010 and is a Research Associate for the Investment Advisory service. Previously, he worked at Goldman Sachs in the securities division in both structured equity and equity derivatives marketing. Subsequently, he worked in the options trading team as Vice President at Sanford Bernstein. In the period before joining Lombardia, he led the finance arm of a congressional race for the 32nd Congressional District in Los Angeles where his efforts garnered national attention. Mr. Madrid graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Urban Studies (2005). While a student at Stanford University, he wrote his honors thesis on higher education and founded the Stanford Foster Care College Project. Johnny has been involved in foster care advocacy for 12 years. He began as a youth member of California Youth Connection where he was involved across a spectrum of roles including the Advisory Board, Legislative Committee, and the Youth Empowerment Training Project. While in CYC he facilitated dozens of focus groups with peer foster youth, gave speeches across the country, lobbied legislatures, and trained over 150 social workers. He is a recipient of the Truman Scholarship and was featured as one of Newsweek's "15 Students You Don't Know But Will."
- Donna Hitchens,
Donna Hitchens is a retired judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. During her tenure on the court, she spent 10 years overseeing the divisions that included dependency cases. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling & Psychological Services from Springfield College and her Law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught judicial education programs on a variety of issues related to children in foster care and how to better address their physical and emotional needs. Judge Hitchens established a SafeStart Program in San Francisco to educate the community and serve children exposed to community and domestic violence. She also established an Infant and Toddler Court to monitor and serve the emotional wellbeing of the youngest foster children. Among other publications, Judge Hitchens has coauthored, with Patricia Van Horn, “The Court’s Role in Supporting and Protecting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence”, 5 Journal of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts (2005) and “Partnerships for Young Children in Court: How Judges Shape Collaborations Serving Traumatized Children,” Young Children and Trauma: Intervention and Treatment, Osofsky, ed, (2004).
- Michael Kidd,
Michael is Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, and Wealth Advisor with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, providing wealth management advisory services to ultra-high net worth individuals, families, non-profits, and corporate clients. Prior to 2011, he was with the Private Bank at Wells Fargo for 18 years in a similar capacity. Michael is a graduate of Washington & Lee University and holds a B.S. in Business Administration. He is also deeply committed to the local community and is serving his 6th year on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, currently as Vice Chair.
- Kira Steifman,
Kira has served on the board of A Home Within since 2003 and was board president from 2009-2011. Currently at home with her children, she has volunteered at their schools in various capacities ranging from Parent Association president to book shelver at the library. In another lifetime, Kira was the program associate of the New York-based Andrus Family Fund, an early supporter of A Home Within. Earlier she worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York, representing clients in debt and equity financings, among other corporate transactions. Kira graduated from Northwestern University School of Law (1998 and Dartmouth College (1993). She is also board president of Wrap Up Africa, a nonprofit organization focused on cancer treatment for children in Uganda and job creation for the children's caretakers.
- Zehra Vahanvaty,
Zehra is a mediator at the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. She serves on the Executive Committee for the NPA at The Nueva School, as Co-President for the last 2 years. She is passionate about issues concerning the welfare of disadvantaged youth. Zehra has taught at the East Palo Alto Charter School and has worked as an advocate for children in the Los Angeles Dependency Court as well as the Center for Women in Transition in Urbana. At the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, she served as the Assistant to the Director of African Affairs. Zehra enjoyed working on the Stanford GSB Alumni Consulting Team’s project to help A Home Within formulate a new strategic plan. Most recently, she worked on the Expansion Task Force for the creation of the Nueva High School. Zehra graduated from the University of Southern California Law School.
- Toni Heineman, LCSW, DMH,
Toni Heineman, LCSW, DMH
Dr. Toni Heineman is a clinical psychologist who has been in private practice treating children, adults, and families in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. She is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and was selected as a fellow by Zero to Three for the 2003-2004 National Leadership Initiative. She was also awarded a DraperRichards Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, the Social Entrepreneur Award from the Manhattan Institute, and a 2008 Purpose Prize. Toni has taught and supervised interns, graduate students and psychiatric residents and presented at numerous local and national professional meetings. She has authored a wide range of journal articles, a book, The Abused Child: Psychodynamic Understanding and Treatment, and is co-editor of another, Building A Home Within: Meeting the Emotional Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care. When not at work, Toni can usually be found in her garden.
- Jeff Sosnaud,
Jeff Sosnaud has a broad array of experience working in business, higher education and the nonprofit sectors, and has held positions in government at the local, state and federal levels. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in San Francisco, a leadership training organization. Jeff lived in Maine for twenty years, where he was the Deputy Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Prior to this, he was the founding executive director of the Maine Small Business Alliance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan small business advocacy organization. An attorney, Jeff has worked as a mediator and was a member of the faculty teaching law at the College of Business Administration of the University of Maine, where he was also Interim Associate Dean. During this period, he was elected to the City Council in Bangor, Maine, the state’s third largest city. Prior to moving to Maine, Jeff practiced law in Silicon Valley, worked as a staff assistant in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and was an assistant to civil rights leader and Fayette, Mississippi mayor Charles Evers. Jeff is a graduate of Yale University and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Wendy von Wiederhold, PhD,
Wendy von Wiederhold, PhD
Dr. Wendy von Wiederhold has been involved with A Home Within for the past fourteen years, first as a clinician, then as the Clinical Director of the San Francisco chapter and for the past three years as the Program Director, overseeing the local chapters and starting new chapters across the country. She is on the faculty at Access Institute and supervises pre- and postdoctoral trainees at the Wright Institute, California Pacific Medical Center, and the Institute on Ageing. Dr. von Wiederhold teaches Adolescent and Infant Development and is in private practice in San Francisco specializing in the psychodynamic treatment of adolescents, adults and couples.
- Molly Saeger, MFT,
Molly Saeger, MFT
Molly Saeger is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She recently joined A Home Within as the Program Co-Director managing and developing the local chapters. Molly has worked closely with emancipated youth through San Francisco Bay Area programs such as Larkin Street Youth Services, Francisco Connection, and School Age Mothers Program. She developed a parenting curriculum for teens and works with young mothers and pregnant teenagers, providing pre and postnatal psychological and educational health services. Molly teaches and presents on parenting, lifespan development, postpartum depression and eating disorders. She also has a private practice where she works with children, adolescents, adults and couples.
- June Madsen Clausen, PhD,
June Madsen Clausen, PhD
Director of Research & Evaluation for A Home Within, is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Clausen directs the Foster Care Research Group, a team of undergraduate and graduate social scientists that conducts outcome evaluation on all the clinical and outreach programs of A Home Within. In addition to her research activities and her university administrative responsibilities, Dr. Clausen teaches several undergraduate psychology courses at USF. She also maintains a clinical practice in which she provides evaluation, consultation, and treatment for child and adult survivors of trauma.
- Saralyn Ruff, PhD,
Saralyn Ruff, PhD
Dr. Saralyn Ruff is program director for A Home Within's Fostering Relationships program. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Master's degree in Family and Human Science. Following, she worked as program supervisor and lead clinician for a community-based mental health nonprofit for emotionally disturbed children. Saralyn received her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University in 2012. Currently, she is adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco and a clinician in San Francisco.
- Jade Hoffman,
When Jade finally tore herself away from UC Berkeley, it was with a Master’s degree in Medieval History and a law degree, neither of which she plans to use professionally. However, during her extended sojourn into academia and professional training she gained an impressive set of tools and skills in research, writing, and communication, most of which have been put to use determining the best possible turn of phrase for tweets and Facebook updates. Additionally, her childhood passion for taking apart every electronic item she was ever given (thus resulting in her mother swearing to never buy her another wristwatch) and general love for computers has resulted in her ability to solve most of the organization's tech-related issues. When not hard at work for A Home Within, Jade can usually be found muddling through songs on her guitar or eating a sandwich. Sometimes both.
- René Fay,
René Fay came to A Home Within after a decade of working with at-risk youth. She has worked as a Rape Crisis Counselor and Domestic Violence Advocate, doing both intervention and prevention work with inner-city youth. She left Boston to work with at-risk youth in a therapeutic wilderness program in Hawaii, where she was the Rites of Passage Supervisor. René is the secretary of The Black River Project, a non-profit organization that brings donated medical supplies and volunteer medical teams to under-served and impoverished communities all over the world. René has her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves to travel.
- Edith Del Pezo Vargas,
Edith Del Pezo Vargas
Edith was born and raised in Cusco-Peru. After finishing college in her hometown (education major with a concentration in language and literature), she worked as a high school teacher until she moved to the States six years ago to pursue further studies. As a graduate of the College of San Mateo (AA in Business Administration 2010) and now as a student at SF State (B.A in business with a concentration in management graduating in Spring 2013), she has been balancing a part-time workload, maintaining good grades, and working hard to develop her English fluency, writing skills, and office management. Away from work and school, Edith enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Guinness is 90lbs of joyful rescue mutt, and a welcome and well-loved addition to the office. Always glad to lend a paw, mostly by offering opportunities to cuddle and get that itch behind his large and goofy ears, Guinness brings to the office a great deal of joy, laughter, and genuine affection. We think he's pretty essential to the running of A Home Within.