My wife and I adopted two children from Russia two years ago. When we first started the adoption process we took numerous classes and read many books on the special needs associated with children who live in foster homes and in orphanages. We both wanted to find ways to apply our new found knowledge to assist children in addition to those we adopted. While my wife work with organizations who deal specifically with parenting twins and international adoption, I found SAFY. When I travel, I try to make time to visit orphanages and see how individuals like myself can help children through philanthropy. In the US, it is our foster care system which assists children in need to meet their full potential. SAFY children need additional care and the foster parents need specialized training. By devoting my time to the SAFY board I try to increase the awareness of SAFY to others and hopefully share some of my business expertise so that the organization can ensure that the children get the best care possible.
It is important that we make the most out of the time we have with each child in our care. Given the nature of foster care in America, many of the children placed in our care have experiences that can only be overcome by tender love and care. We know that some of the trauma that they have faced can take years to overcome. We also have to understand that each child must be assisted as an individual and that each one comes to SAFY with a different story. By understanding each of these basic concepts I hope that SAFY can have a positive impact if we have the child for only a day or over several years.
SAFY currently has an outstanding management team. Our CEO is one of the best I have seen and that includes both for profit and nonprofit organizations. All organizations need a management team that works well together and have a common vision. The employees that I have had the privilege to get to know are very dedicated and really care for the children. The synergy between the employees, the management team, the state boards and the national board is unique. Raising money will always be the biggest challenge for organizations like SAFY. There are so many children in foster care that need attention.
Cody Bateman, Board Chair
Richard R. Nedelkoff was appointed the Chief Executive Officer for SAFY in January, 2012. Appointed to national and statewide leadership positions in human service and public safety by three Governors and the President of the United States, he has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operating officer (COO) of three statewide and national non-profits providing services to youth and families. Additionally, he has managed agencies with budgets as large as six billion dollars and directed organizations with over 4500 employees. He is a recognized expert nationally and internationally in the juvenile justice, child welfare, public safety and human services fields.
Richard began his career gaining valuable experience as a foster care coordinator, child protective services caseworker, a Guardian Ad Litem, mediator of child custody and visitation disputes and the State Director for a network of runaway shelters and family counseling centers. n the foster care system.
Some of his later career highlights include:
Richard received a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. He earned a Master of Science degree (with high honors) in the Administration of Justice from the University of Louisville and received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University.
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