Media Contact: Nicole Burton
FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 1, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin announced today that Chris and Alicia Johnson will join the administration as Special Advisors in the Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives. In this capacity, the Johnsons will support the Governor’s and First Lady’s commitment to protecting our state’s most vulnerable children by helping advance statewide foster care and adoption reform.
Chris and Alicia Johnson will work closely with the Department for Community Based Services within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to support the department’s ongoing adoption and foster care initiatives, including the transformative efforts required under House Bill 1. The Johnsons also will work through the Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives to advance strategic partnerships with the faith community as Kentucky works to become the best system of care in the nation for children.
“The Johnsons' commitment to foster care and adoption reform perfectly aligns with the work we are doing here in Kentucky to transform our child welfare system,” said First Lady Glenna Bevin. “Their experience as foster parents, coupled with their advocacy work within the faith based community, has led to a unique understanding of the challenges that exist for foster and adoptive families. I know that they will bring their extensive knowledge to bear in their new positions in the Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives.”
Chris and Alicia Johnson are the parents of 10 children, ranging in age from 24 years old to eight years old. Three of their children are biological and seven children are adopted from the foster care system. Altogether, the Johnsons have fostered more than 40 children in their home, welcoming medically frail children, sibling groups, and children who were close to aging out of the foster care system.
“God’s call on our lives to be foster and adoptive parents has provided blessings for our family that are greater than we could have ever imagined,” noted Chris. “Alicia and I are excited to now be able to devote a greater level of attention toward challenging others to join us in this pursuit of being used to help change lives and toward supporting those who have answered this call and who are on the front lines of protecting and nurturing children and families. We look forward to joining the wonderful team in Kentucky who clearly shares this same passion.”
Chris Johnson is the former Lead Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Clermont, Florida, serving the congregation for over 11 years. Together, he and Alicia began the church’s orphan care ministry, where they connected prospective foster and adoptive parents with child welfare agencies. As adoption and foster care advocates, the Johnsons travel throughout the country on behalf of adoption and foster care nonprofits, speaking at churches, community groups, and conferences about the importance of recruiting, training, and supporting committed foster care parents.
Alicia Johnson is active in numerous Florida community-based child welfare agencies, including Kids Central, Inc., which assists in policy development and staff support for central Florida’s child welfare services programs. She also has served as a mentor to foster parents for Kids Central, Inc., and has volunteered as an ambassador for One More Child, a Florida faith-based adoption and foster care agency. In addition, she has worked with a non-profit focused on empowering youth who are aging out of foster care to pursue education and training opportunities as they move to independence.
Chris Johnson serves as President of the Board for Lake Sumter Families, a regional foster and adoptive parent association in Florida. He also serves on the Board of the Florida State Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and the Steering Committee for Kids Central, Inc. He frequently facilitates workshops for regional and national organizations, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, the National Foster Parent Association, and Focus on the Family.
“I am thrilled to have Chris and Alicia Johnson join us, and bring their perspectives as foster and adoptive parents to our child welfare transformation efforts,” said DCBS Commissioner Eric Clark. “They have spent more than a decade in Florida working to improve the lives of children there, and will now share their experiences with our department, foster families, faith and community partners, and frontline staff as we all work together toward making Kentucky the best system of care for kids in the country.”
The Johnsons have provided innovative leadership from the foster and adoptive parent perspective on mentoring birth families, partnering with case managers, and promoting normalcy and prudent parenting in foster care settings.
Download a photo of the Johnson family here.