It all began with a mom, Googling. Amy VanTine desperately needed help for her adopted daughter with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Her daughter wasn’t getting the help she needed to address the effects of early abuse and neglect—the root cause of her disorder.
Yet, Amy’s Google search only showed more of the same unhelpful information she’d come across before. From various therapies to multiple parenting techniques, she had tried it all. Meanwhile, Amy's daughter was getting more sick and the family was falling apart. The impact of her daughter’s early trauma severely impacted everyone in the home.
Just as Amy began to give up all hope, however, she found another mom online dealing with the same struggles with her adopted child. And then another. It just so happened that both of the women lived in her same small Colorado town.
Amy wasn't alone anymore.
In fact, Amy continued to find more parents online. She happened upon hundreds of people, whether stepparents, grandparents or otherwise from all over the world struggling to raise kids with RAD. Just like Amy, they were dismissed by therapists, friends, family, and educators—everyone they turned to for help. Instead of finding support for their families, they were unjustly blamed and shamed for “poor parenting”.
Amy and the other moms she met felt compelled to do something. Parents of children with RAD needed a voice. And the people around them needed education about the disorder to better support their families. So three moms started RAD Advocates in 2017.
RAD Advocates is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, run mostly by volunteers. We've spent hundreds of hours, whether from the road on hotel room phones or at community events, empathizing with and advising other parents in crisis day and night since we began. We've educated graduate students at Metropolitan State University about RAD, shared our personal parenting stories with clinicians at the Mayo Clinic, and lobbied for legislation to protect families.
And we've only just begun. Please, join us.
We believe that every parent has the right to raise a healthy and safe family. Some, like those raising kids with RAD, need far more support than others to do so. That's why we're here.
RAD Advocates educates and advocates to equip families, communities, and professionals to effectively support children with reactive attachment disorder.
Advocate|Chief Executive Officer
Amy founded RAD Advocates after facing the challenges of parenting a child with RAD. She understands the needs of RAD Advocates clients first-hand, as well as how to effectively and efficiently bring a family plan to fruition. Amy’s experiences, combined with her empathy, resourcefulness, and professionalism have made RAD Advocates a front-runner in bringing awareness and change regarding the disorder. Amy’s long-term goal is to create a nationwide shift in helping families of children with RAD.
Advocate|Chief Operating Officer
After reaching out to RAD Advocates for help in seeking proper treatment for her own adopted children, Heather initially joined the RAD Advocates volunteer team. Heather’s compassion, empathy, and organizational skills proved invaluable, however, and quickly evolved into a leadership role with the organization. Before joining RAD Advocates, Heather spent 25 years of her career in administrative management and 15 of those years as a small business owner.
After adopting a child with reactive attachment disorder along with his wife and RAD Advocates founder Amy VanTine, Mike has a passion for the organization. He has been in the building industry for over 30 years with a background in operations, negotiation, purchasing, and inventory control. Mike has four children and lives with his wife in Colorado.
James was drawn to the mission of RAD Advocates after learning about reactive attachment disorder from his close friend, and now fellow board member, Mike Bouchard. After learning about the parenting struggles Mike experienced with his adoptive child with RAD, James felt compelled to help other families. James has been in the banking/finance IT industry for 30 years.
Out of her personal parenting experience with a child with reactive attachment disorder, Beth helped to start RAD Advocates in 2017. She has 22 years of experience as a social worker, case manager, and advocate for families of children with disabilities and special needs, adoptive families, and families with children who struggle with RAD and attachment issues. Beth currently works as a licensed realtor in Colorado.
John has many years of experience in raising, loving, and advocating for children with reactive attachment disorder. He has been in the aviation industry for 23 years. John resides in rural North Carolina with his wife Patty and their three sons.
Sarah found RAD Advocates as an adoptive mother of a child with reactive attachment disorder. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the majority of her career and has extensive experience working with low-income families overseeing programs ranging from nutrition assistance to legal services.
Sarah and her husband own Berry Brae Farm in Central New York raising sheep, pigs, chickens, and goats and hosting events.
After RAD Advocates helped guide Jessicca through the hardships of raising her child with reactive attachment disorder, she wanted to give back. She lends her experience and education in accounting and finance to do so as a board member. Jessicca enjoys spending time with her husband and their children, camping, cooking, boating, hiking, hunting, and traveling. She is currently a finance officer for a municipality and is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting.
Founder of Foundational Connections, LLC, Katie is a child welfare expert and professional parent advocate with over a decade of professional and lived experience. She serves the greater Pacific Northwest and graciously volunteers her time as a parent advocate for RAD Advocates. Katie has a bachelor's degree in anthropology, a master's degree in human services, and a post-graduate certificate in contemporary family theory.
Chris is an adoptive mom of two children, one of whom was diagnosed with RAD (among other conditions). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a Master of Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University with a post-graduate certificate in pastoral counseling from Neumann University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University, Chicago.
Ryan serves as an Associate Professor of Psychology at Westminster College. He earned his PhD from the Ohio State University in social psychology and has taught psychology to undergraduates for over 20 years. He connected with RAD Advocates when searching for resources for his adopted son. He is interested in using his experience and expertise in higher education to advocate for increasing exposure to RAD and other attachment disorders to aspiring mental health professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
As owner and founder of Blaire's Social Media Management, Blaire has the expertise to reach audiences via social media and the heart to generously volunteer time to support the RAD Advocates' mission. Blaire has a graduate degree in human services and public safety and a working background in victim advocacy, legal, and human resource fields.
Bio Coming Soon
Leslie is a teacher with degrees in special education and school counseling. She has over 20 years of experience working with children with diverse needs and recognizes the difficulties families face when raising a child with RAD. She discovered RAD Advocates when searching for help for her adopted son. Through formal and informal instructional training opportunities, she works to help educators learn to partner with the families of children with RAD.
Crystalyn, a volunteer advocate, is a former teacher and a special needs-foster-adoptive-biological-RAD mama to six children. Her passion is for people to understand not only reactive attachment disorder but also how the trauma brain works. Crystalyn has a bachelor’s degree in French and biochemistry and a master's degree in education. She is a lifelong book learner of all things brain and body with an emphasis on mental health.
Jenn has been an instructional middle school coach for the past 10 years and a science, math, and gifted and talented teacher for an additional 10 years. She found RAD Advocates in a Google search of desperation after 16 years of struggling through RAD with her adopted daughter. She became a part of RAD Advocates to find strength from those also navigating the difficult journey and to educate others about the impact of raising a child with RAD and how to support everyone in the family.
Micaela adopted children from foster care in 2015. Since then, she has become an advocate for foster care reform and the support and education of adoptive parents. Micaela earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and works as a professional writer and editor. She volunteers her time, experience, and expertise consistently as a writer to support RAD Advocates' outreach and education efforts.
With a background in the nonprofit, education, and mental health sectors, Nichole founded Pen & Stick Communications to help noble organizations further their reach in the world via the fusion of communications strategy and content and copy writing. She has a niche in reactive attachment disorder and passionately supports the RAD Advocates mission. Nichole earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Education.
Debi, mother of four children, sought help from RAD Advocates after struggling to find help for their adopted daughter with reactive attachment disorder. Through the organization's help, she found non-judgmental guidance and hope. She volunteers on the Navigating RAD event committee so that other parents can find the same support that her family did.