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 developmental trauma disorder (currently diagnosed as 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.
David Eplion, Board Chair
David and his wife Cherie, adopted biological siblings later diagnosed with severe reactive attachment disorder. They attended the first NavRAD experience in Denver, finding it to be the most helpful resource they had found. When their family was stabilized, David felt called to help other families struggling to raise children with RAD and joined the RAD Advocates Board of Directors. David has been a college professor for over 22 years, spending the last seven as the Dean of the School of Business at Indiana University Southeast.
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.
After adopting a teen from foster care with severe reactive attachment disorder and consulting RAD Advocates for help, Melissa wanted to offer other families the same help and hope RAD Advocates provided to her family in their time of need. In addition to practicing law in Florida for more than twenty years, Melissa has volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem in dependency cases and worked with foster care children through volunteer work throughout her career.
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.
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.