Susan Conwell, JD
Susan Conwell is a founder of and the Executive Director of Kids Matter Inc. She was inspired to start Kids Matter after she and her husband became foster parents, and spent years advocating for basic services for the children in their care, and on behalf of other children they came to know in foster care.
Prior to developing Kids Matter, Sue was an attorney at Foley & Lardner, and later worked for Legal Action of Wisconsin. Sue graduated with honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1986. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992 and was elected to membership in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and the Harvard Board of Freshman Advisors. She is a frequent writer on issues relating to children and has received several awards for her work. She is very proud of the many foster and kinship families and Kids Matter volunteers making good things happen for kids.
Lance Jones, JD
Program Manager, Kids Matter CASA
Lance Jones is a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. He has an extensive background in child welfare and poverty law. Lance taught legal ethics, trial advocacy and child welfare law for three years as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the multidisciplinary Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan. He has also been a staff attorney and interim executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Grand Rapids, Michigan and a staff attorney with the Child and Family Law Center of Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services in Detroit. From 1999 to 2001, Lance was executive director of Community Legal Resources, a pro bono legal assistance program serving nonprofit community development organizations throughout metropolitan Detroit.
Lance has also studied pastoral care and counseling in Detroit and Chicago. In 2012 he received his Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Jennifer Hastings, MS, LPC-IT
Fostering Healing / Family Connections Program Manager
Jennie manages the Fostering Healing and Family Connections programs at Kids Matter Inc. She brings a strong commitment to the well-being of children, and enjoys serving as a voice for the vulnerable within the community. She holds a Master of Science in Community Mental Health from Southern New Hampshire University, specializing in children and families. Jennie spent five years as a social worker for the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services, first as an Ongoing Case Manager and then as a Court Liaison at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center.
Beth Lauck, JD Staff Attorney
Beth Lauck is our Staff Attorney. Beth is a 2007 graduate of Loyola University Chicago Law School where she focused her studies in child, family, and elder law. Beth’s interest in child law began in college while interning during the summer for a Court Appointed Special Advocate program in Colorado Springs. While in law school, Beth participated in Loyola’s Elder Law Clinic serving as a Guardian ad litem in adult disabled cases, worked as a research assistant in Loyola’s Lead-Safe Housing Initiative, and clerked for a federal magistrate judge. Following law school, she spent over five years at the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office in their Juvenile Division serving as an attorney and guardian ad litem in child protection cases. Most recently, Beth worked at a local employee benefits company specializing in benefits for schools throughout the Midwest.
Prior to joining Kids Matter Inc. as our Staff Attorney, she volunteered as both a Court Appointed Special Advocate and pro bono attorney. In her free time, Beth enjoys biking, cooking, and trying Milwaukee’s many restaurants. She enjoys using her experience and passion for helping children and families at Kids Matter Inc.
Karen A. Jick, MSSW, LCSW
Karen Jick is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1994. She has been involved with Kids Matter Inc. since its inception, either as an employee or consultant, following her passion to advocate for children and families in the child welfare system continuum of care.
Ms. Jick was a faculty member in social work education programs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for more than twenty-five years. She currently has a private practice in Behavioral Health with ICF Consultants, Inc. in Milwaukee, where her current specialty is in trauma counseling.
Karen was president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers from 2004-2006 and is the 2003 recipient of the Social Worker of the Year Award. She is a current member of the Board of Directors for Our Space, Inc., a support organization for adults living with a chronic mental illness.
Ivy Zamora is a bilingual MSW LCSW Social Worker. The mission and vision of Kids Matter Inc. has always appealed to Ivy, and she often referred families and sought out consultation from Kids Matter Inc. staff on complex cases. Ivy hails from the south side of Milwaukee where she has intervened with families in a community based setting. She earned her MSW in 1998 from Loyola University Chicago and spent over six years rendering mental health and adoption services at Catholic Charities of Gary, Indiana.
In her most recent work at a federally qualified health clinic, she provided walk in social work services to a predominantly Spanish speaking clientele. Ivy’s career in social work has always been focused on those who are most vulnerable in urban communities where the needs are often great. Recently, her participation in the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission piqued her interest in how to best serve children and families directly affected by trauma and loss. In her free time, Ivy volunteers with rescue dogs and enjoys dabbling in art.
CASA Program Manager
Kirsten Sobieski, our new CASA Program Manager, has spent her whole career advocating for children and adults during times of crisis or trauma. A veteran of the US Army, Kirsten received her B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994. That same year, she began a 20-year career as a victim advocate in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office working in both the adult and juvenile justice systems.
In 2014, Kirsten switched gears – moving from government to the non-profit sector to become the executive director of an organization assisting homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. Kirsten’s advocacy continues here at Kids Matter Inc, where she looks forward to using her experience and passion to help make a difference in the lives of children in our community.