MN team

Meet the Minnesota Safe Families Staff
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Maridel Sandberg

Executive Director

Maridel Sandberg serves as the Minnesota Executive Director of Safe Families for Children.  She is the heart, voice and vision of Safe Families for Children.  Her passion is to encourage the Church to resume its historical and Biblical responsibility for vulnerable children by becoming part of the support for these children’s parents.    As founding board member of the Christian Alliance for Orphans she is a national speaker and advocate for the needs of orphans across the globe and those social orphans in our own communities (foster care).
She and her husband Bruce have spent the past 33 years of marriage parenting 8 kids – 3 birthed to them and 5 came through the miracle of adoption.  They are now enjoying 2 new son-in-laws, 2 new daughter-in-laws and 8 grandchildren.

Brittany Clauer

Family Coach Supervisor

Brittany graduated from Bethel University in 2009 with a degree in Social Work. From there she went on to work at a local non-profit doing case management with families who were homeless. It was here that she developed a love for these moms and children and saw the tremendous need for the Church to come alongside them and show them Jesus’ love and provide them with supportive, positive relationships.
Brittany lives in Fridley with her husband Matt and son Elijah whom she loves spending time with. She also enjoys being outside whenever she can- walking, camping, and playing yard games. When it is more frigid outside she likes drinking chai tea lattes and reading snuggled up by a fir.

Kelly Donohue

Family Coach Supervisor

Kelly graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Masters degree in Social Work. Upon graduation, she worked in an adoption agency assisting families through the process of adoption. For many years, her primary ministry centered on her role as “mom”, which afforded her ample opportunity to volunteer in the community and through church. Kelly and her husband have two grown daughters and have called Minnesota home for almost 30 years.
The common thread of Kelly’s work and personal life is the importance of family to the fabric of society. Kelly’s continued desire to support and advocate for families led her to join the Safe Families staff in the fall of 2014.
Kelly appreciates the way Safe Families approaches ministry in functioning as the body of Christ, using many people’s gifts and abilities to accomplish God’s work. She is grateful to work alongside the staff and volunteers, many of which she hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting just yet.

Brooke Eastburn

Project Director

Brooke Eastburn is an attorney practicing in the area of family law. She loves to see kids develop to their full potential and has worked with at-risk youth from Thailand to Washington, D.C. since 1998. As a Chief of Staff to a member of Congress who ardently supports adoption and foster care goals,
Brooke spent three years on Capitol Hill getting an up-close look at how social service agencies best intersect with government to really serve families.

Kate Etter

LGSW Social Worker

Kate graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2006 with a Masters degree in Social Work and spent her first two and a half years out of school as a foster care social worker for the State of Maryland.
In October of 2011, Kate was hired as the Home Study Coordinator for all host families interested in getting involved with SFFC, and most recently has been working more with the biological families and the case coaches who oversee their situations.

Tammie Haveman

Church Engagement Director

Lori Hoganson

Family Coach

Lori has been trained by the Lord through raising three boys (together with her husband of 26 years) and being involved with her church in small group ministry.  The Lord has given her a heart to volunteer in the past as a counselor with a pregnancy center, and a volunteer for a prison ministry.  Lori leans heavily on the Lord as she gets to know
the biological families in Safe Families for Children and enjoys watching His glory shine in each of their unique situations.  Lori’s greatest desire is to see the church minister to these families in crisis with the powerful and sustaining truth of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Beverly Upshaw

Family Coach

Bev began working for Safe Families in 2012. She is currently working with the biological moms as a Family Coach to come alongside each one to equip them with resources and encouraging them in meeting their goals.
She enjoys seeing these moms succeed and their children returned to them with smiles on their faces.
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