Meet the Amazing Woman Whose Love Changed 43 Young Lives Forever!

Over the last 18 years, Rozan Haynes has welcomed 43 children into her home. That’s not a misprint. Forty-three boys and girls have called her “Mom” and have been shaped into successful, productive adults through the loving care she provided.

She says, “Some of them came to me when they were 3 or 4 years old, and stayed with me until they finished high school. So really, I raised them.”

Rozan, who recently “retired” from taking more at-risk kids under her wing, was honored by Olive Crest. “I’m just on cloud nine because of the love they showed me,” she says. “What a wonderful way to retire.”

From the moment you meet her, it’s easy to see that Rozan is a special person. She exudes joy, enthusiasm, and love for God and children. It was her faith that first led her to Olive Crest. “I’d do it all again if I could,” she says. “In fact, I wish I could do it all again.”

“When you love God, you’re just naturally going to love His children.”

An accomplished writer with many Gospel songs and short stories to her credit, Rozan says, “When you’re caring for children, you’re writing their story. You’re taking away pain and writing in joy. Taking away anger and writing in happiness.” She explains the children who spent time in her care had been abused, abandoned, and neglected. “They had seen so many things children ought not to see. I told them, ‘I know you won’t forget your past, but you can set it aside, turn the page, and start writing a new story for your life.’”

“These Kids Needed Compassion”

Yes, there were some difficult times along the way. “There were some children I didn’t think I could handle at first.” One banged his head against the wall. Another cut himself. One 4-year-old threatened a little girl with a plastic knife, modeling his father’s anger and aggression. “These kids needed compassion . . . someone who cared enough to listen, so that’s what I did. I always let them know, ‘no matter what you do, I’m not going anywhere, and neither are you. We’re going to see this thing through.’ And that’s what we did.”

She adds, “I have to tell you, Olive Crest gave me the best support I could ever have asked for. They were always just a phone call away.”

Even though Rozan’s kids have grown up, she still keeps in touch with several of them. One young man is fulfilling his dream of serving in the Air Force. Another is a successful insurance broker. One just became a home owner. “I’m so proud of them,” she says.

“Who Could Ask for More?”

Her eyes light up when she thinks about a young man named Shad, who came to see her after hearing that she had undergone knee surgery. “I was trying to sit up and talk to him,” she recalls, “but he said, ‘Mom, I know you’re hurting. You need to be in bed.’ ” So he took me into my bedroom and tucked me into bed. Then he sat in a chair and talked to me for a long time.” She was deeply touched by this act of tenderness from a young man who was once troubled, angry, and lost.

“I’ve had people tell me that they don’t know why I did what I did, that they couldn’t do it,” she says. “But being a foster mom has given me so many wonderful things. Just to see a child who felt that nobody wanted him begin to blossom and grow and find his place in the world. Who could ask for more?”

Celebrate National Adoption Month: Katie’s Story

How the Healing Power of Family Changed Katie’s Life Forever

From the moment that Katie arrived in the world, it was clear that she was special. Born 15 weeks early and weighing just over a pound, she spent the first two months of her life in the hospital fighting to survive.

Knowing that attachment to loving parents would be vital for Katie’s health to improve, Olive Crest made an important call to Talon and Doug Deatrick who had been certified to become foster parents just four days prior.

Talon recalls, “They were up front with us about the issues Katie was likely to have. There were no guarantees about anything, but we prayed about it and put it all into God’s hands.”

Doug adds with a smile, “I was pretty attached as soon as I held her.”

Katie Never Gave Up

“It was intense for a while,” Talon recalls of their first days with her at the hospital. “Sometimes, when one of us was holding her, she’d stop breathing. The monitor would go off and the nurses would have to take her out of our arms and start working on her to get her breathing again.”

In the beginning, Katie also struggled with eating and getting enough nutrition. However, once Doug and Talon began staying with her at the hospital each day, Katie improved and starting eating normally.

Additional physical challenges started surfacing. When Katie was six months old, she seemed to be having trouble seeing. Talon says, “We took her to an ophthalmologist, who said she couldn’t see anything beyond distinguishing between light and shadow – and it was doubtful whether it was ever going to improve. We were devastated by that, as you can imagine.”

Doug continues the story, “We set up an appointment with a developmental optometrist.  In the meantime, we did what we could to stimulate her vision. Then one morning, we noticed that she was tracking!  She could see, and we were thrilled!  It seems that it just took her a little bit longer to develop.  We know she still needs help with her vision.  We’re not exactly sure, since she’s still so young, exactly how much vision she has.  But her visual problems don’t seem to affect her in any way.”

A teacher with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Talon quit her job to be able to spend more time caring for Katie. With a therapy schedule of nine hours a week, Talon and Doug are devoted to ensuring she is responding well and making as much progress as possible. When things get rough, Talon says, “Any time I have a problem, the first person I call is the case manager at Olive Crest. She’s always ready to help.”

 “She’s a problem solver”

Both parents say their little girl has an independent spirit and works hard to get what she wants. Doug says, “If there’s a challenge, she’s going to figure it out.  As one of our therapists told us, ‘She’s a problem solver.’”

Doug and Talon have learned that Katie is full of determination and that she will keep surprising them as she overcomes her obstacles and continues to thrive. “She’s a pistol,” Talon laughs. “She’s taught me so much about fighting and persevering and just not giving up. She has changed our lives. She may never walk the way other kids walk.  She may have hiccups in her vision, or she may never use her left hand.  We still don’t know what the future holds, but we’re trusting her to God and taking things one day at a time. We are so thankful for our little girl, no matter what the challenges are.”

Katie Has a Forever Home

Right around Katie’s first birthday, on June 7, 2016, Katie, Talon, and Doug spent a joyous morning at Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court in Los Angeles finalizing precious Katie’s adoption, and became her forever family.

Welcome our new Olive Crest – Orange County Region Executive Director!

Chief Executive Officer of Olive Crest, Donald Verleur II, announced the appointment of Kerri Dunkelberger as Executive Director of the Orange County region. Kerri comes with 26 years of experience in organizational leadership and non-profit program management. With 24 years of leadership experience at Olive Crest and 2 years as the Executive Director of Bethany Christian Services, Kerri not only brings the highest caliber of expertise, but passion for providing at-risk children with strong, loving families. Kerri holds a dual BA degree in Mass Communications and Business Administration, as well as a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling.

This appointment fits within Olive Crest’s strategy in achieving the organization’s Vision 2020 to increase its reach to 100,000 more children and families by the year 2020. Tim Bauer will continue in his key role as the Executive Director of Development, working alongside Kerri in building awareness and raising much needed community resources.

Brittany’s Story: From Homelessness to a Bright Future

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Brittany recently accepting a scholarship award.

Here at Olive Crest, we truly believe that a safe and loving family can change the life of a child for the better. Before finding her foster family, Brittany had been homeless, was behind in school, and had little interest in her education. But with the support and stability that came with her new family, Brittany has been able to flourish and excel.

The following is a letter from Brittany, describing her journey in overcoming adversity and hardship.


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Brittany when she first arrived at the Horgan family.

I was born July 28, 1998, into a family of ten. I grew up on the streets with my mom and siblings, and I’ve never met my dad. At the age of four my mom left one of my sisters and me at a homeless shelter, and that’s when I entered the child welfare system.

My sister and I were moved around a lot and never stayed in one home. I don’t remember much of when I was young. Most of the memories I have start from when I was placed in a ch ild welfare home at the age of six. The placement seemed nice until I met the other children in the home. I got picked on, beat up and teased constantly and no one ever believed me. The foster mom thought I was crazy and had me put on six different psych medications at once. I was often tired and out of it and slept in class. No one ever listened to me and I was always told to go to my room. I was located away from everyone and I felt isolated.

I finally got fed up with the treatment I was receiving and I started to act out. Soon the family I was with got sick of it and sent me away. The only downside to that was that I was separated from my older sister. After that I was constantly moving from home to home. Some I liked and others not so much.

At the age of twelve, I came to Olive Crest and I was placed with the Horgan family. They are a nice, loving, and caring family. I’ve been with them for the past five and a half years.

Living with the Horgan family was weird at first. They were very welcoming and tried to make sure I knew I was part of their family which was new for me. I acted out a great deal and was distant in the beginning. I also isolated myself because it had become a bad habit of mine. Usually, any other family would have sent me away, but they didn’t, and still insisted I was part of the family.

I got registered in school a week after being placed in their home and my foster mom realized quickly that I had gaps in my learning. I was going into the seventh grade with second grade comprehension and vocabulary. It was hard keeping up but I tried my best. The school wasn’t as supportive as I needed them to be. My foster mom started to work with me. I wasn’t always engaged because school wasn’t one of my strong points but, she never gave up on me. In eighth grade my foster mom Marcy got me an amazing tutor. Most days after school and during summers Susan, my tutor, helped me in all subjects. My vocabulary and comprehension went up from second grade to twelfth grade. I’m now all caught up to where I’m supposed to be because of the support of the people around me. I still tutor with Susan to this very day.

Brittany's Senior portrait.

Brittany’s Senior portrait.

High school opened up a whole new can of worms for me. But my mom was always there and she fought for what she thought was best for me. Just last week I got a scholarship from the school district regarding my achievements in school. Only one school out of the district gets the award and I was honored to receive it.

I graduated from Los Amigos this past June and I plan to go to Golden West College. I don’t know yet which career path I want to take. I plan to take all of my required classes first to give me time to think about which path for my future career I wish to take.

After junior college I might transfer to a Cal State University to further my education. I want to be able to support and take care of myself, and I know that furthering my education would be the first big step to making it happen! ~ Brittany

Olive Crest and Youth for Christ Team up to Help at Risk Children


TACOMA, Wash., July 12, 2016 — In an unprecedented move, Youth for Christ (YFC) in Tacoma has decided to shift its foster care and adoption services to Olive Crest Pacific Northwest.

After Youth for Christ’s decision to focus its ministry on 11 to 19-year-olds, the leadership sought out a credible, like-minded partner to operate its foster care services.

For more than 40 years, Olive Crest has provided foster care and adoption services in California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest. The nonprofit organization is a leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, serving nearly 3,000 children and families each day.

Staff will grow to 103 serving the Seattle-Tacoma area, and will work with 305 families, and serve 249 kids in care in Pierce, Thurston, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom and Lewis counties.

The Youth for Christ foster care offices at 1216 Center Street will become part of Olive Crest under a lease agreement. The remaining YFC programs and staff will move to the organization’s Hilltop Offices, Ministry Headquarters at 1116 South 11th Street.

Olive Crest in Seattle and now Tacoma provides foster care services through secure, certified and trained loving families in therapeutically safe environments. In addition, the agency provides intensive treatment for children with complex emotional and behavioral needs that exceed what a regular foster care family can meet. Safe Families for Children is an additional program where parents experiencing a temporary crisis can arrange for their children to stay with Safe Families volunteers while they address the issues that led to the instability in their lives.

Olive Crest also offers parent education, counseling and case management services to help strengthen families to keep them together. The organization works with the state of Washington to ensure that safe and loving foster families are available to meet the needs of abused and neglected youth. Mental health staff is integrated into Olive Crest programs to provide high-quality and effective care.

More information at

Contact: Heidi Riehl
(657) 622-4137

How a Caring Family Found Their Missing Piece


Two-year-old Ella is a bundle of energy and curiosity. She’s a happy little girl who adores her parents and her two older brothers.

Things are good for Ella these days, but it wasn’t always so. Born prematurely, she spent her first eight weeks in the intensive care unit. She came into the world with fetal alcohol syndrome, a heart problem, and visual issues. From the beginning, it seemed the odds were stacked against her…

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Helen: A Life Transformed

Helen, 16, was referred to Olive Crest through probation. With tears in her eyes, Helen’s mom revealed that Helen’s suicidal tendencies were her biggest fear. At first, Helen was hesitant to accept any help—but her love for her family became her motivation.
Over the course of one month, the typically timid Helen began to blossom. Helen’s mom shared how she loved seeing Helen happy and smiling again.
Helen got even further on her path to success by earning additional educational credits in summer school and attending adult school for credits necessary for her grade level.

She attended an eight-week summer physical education course and passed with an A — a huge success, since P.E. had previously been a challenge. Helen also applied to a program that helps kids explore their interests. This will give her the opportunity to volunteer at a local hospital. Because of all the love and support she has received, Helen continues to work on reaching her goals and has a bright future ahead.

Youth “Aging Out” of the Child Welfare System Defies the Odds, Transitions to Adulthood

Each year about 23,000 foster youth “age out” of the child welfare system in the United States when they turn 18. Most are seriously unprepared for life on their own. Frequently, they lack the most basic skills for living successfully outside a system that had previously made all their life decisions for them—something confirmed by statistics. These young adults need specific tools to overcome these odds.

Foster youth who have aged out are less likely to graduate high school, earn a college degree, and maintain employment. One in five ends up homeless, and nearly three-quarters of women are pregnant by 21.

Jayana’s Story

JayanaJayana, who turned 21 in July, is defying those odds. She entered the child welfare system at age 3, and ended up separated from her siblings. Her transitions while in the system made her young life unsettled and difficult, and she never felt like she belonged. She eventually was blessed with a strong, caring support system. But as she neared “aging out,” she realized she didn’t know how to be independent.

“I never had parents who taught me how to do things. Some really basic things,” Jayana says. “As I got closer to my 18th birthday, I was worried. I didn’t have the skills I needed, and I didn’t know a lot about the world. But I refused to be homeless.”

Foster youth who have aged out are less likely to graduate high school, earn a college degree, and maintain employment.

Olive Crest’s Project Independence strives to teach youth those needed skills. After Jayana learned about the program, she applied and was one of the first accepted into her local Olive Crest program. “We learned basic skills like house cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping,” Jayana says.