Meet the Family Peer Support Specialists
Meet our amazing team of Family Peer Support Specialists who help parents and/or primary caregivers with children experiencing mental health and/or substance abuse challenges which are resulting in trouble at school, with the law and/or that put the child at risk of out of home placement.
Family Peer Support Specialist Supervisor Kelly Ford has over a decade of experience in the mental health field. She holds a BS in Psychology and an MBA w/Certificates in HR from the University of Phoenix.
In addition, Kelly has been a volunteer Grief Support Facilitator at The Sharing Place for four years helping youth and families to acknowledge feelings related to grief and connect with others experiencing the same.
Kelly began her career with Salt Lake County Youth Services in March of 2021 and finds it incredibly rewarding to work in the challenging field of mental health and substance abuse. SLCo Youth Services provides the opportunity to see firsthand the positive impact we can make to families and the way we, as a community, view and treat mental health.
Alicia is fairly new to the FPSS program and is loving every minute of it. She left a career of 5 years in law enforcement to dig into her passion of supporting young people. Alicia is the oldest of five younger brothers and is part of a beautiful blended family. She’s passionate about this program and believes that everyone needs someone who cares and who advocates for them. We live in a world where listening is a fading skill. There is power in healing by listening, caring, letting others know that if no one else in this world cares, WE DO! Let’s start small. Say hello. Options and opportunities will open from there. I’m excited to walk side by side with the people I meet. Let’s start this journey!
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you determined to learn, no one can stop you” Zig Ziglar
“Helene, being a Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) for the 3-past years, believes that every family is unique and expert in their own experiences- Her focus is on her client’s identified strengths and needs for services. So, she finds ways in which these strengths can promote the changes her clients would want to see in their lives; she is “An I Hear You” for refugee and immigrant’s parents with children experiencing mental health /substance abuse challenges leading them to truancy/trouble with the law/out of home.”
She is originally from the Congo and traveled around the world with her lovely husband on diplomatic assignments, where she had the opportunity to help many children and adults suffering with war trauma. `In 2001, she moved to the USA with her family; and 14 years later enrolled at the University of Utah and completed a Masters of Social Work (2015) after mental health struck her own child.
As a CPSS, and resilient woman, her focus is on truancy, and family reunification among these populations that she handles with care and passion; but instilling resiliency. She acts as a family advocate/advisor and ambassador with the local schools.
On her spare time, Helene likes travelling with her husband, reading, cooking/spending time with her grandkids/video calling those abroad.
"This work is about helping families feel validated, empowered and heard."
Laura has been a Certified Family Peer Support Specialist for the past 4 years, but she has been a listening ear and “lets see what we can do together” person for as long as she can remember.
Her combined lived experience with family members with mental health issues, physical limitations, and developmental delays and her years in Granite School District as a Behavior Health Aid culminated in a perfect transition to Peer Support work. As an CFPS Specialist, she helps families identify their strengths and needs and supports them as they navigate systems and circumstances that seem overwhelming.
Within her CFPSS work, she has been assigned to the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court team and the Compulsory Education court at the Salt Lake District Court, where she has represented Family Voice and Choice in the courtroom staffings and proceedings and provided valuable resources for youth and families in and out of the courtroom.
Lauren Greco has worked at Youth Services for almost five years. Lauren received her Psychology degree in 2014, from Columbia College. Afterwards, Lauren became a Family Peer Support Facilitator so that she could be of service and support for families that struggle with Mental Health needs. She brings her lived experience to this role by encouraging families to learn to thrive and find solutions to their struggles through resilience, empowerment, and compassion.
Lauren values her family, meditation, reading, cooking, travel and the outdoors.
Lauren Keogh is new to the role of Family Peer Support and has received so much assistance and care from her team! Lauren finds meaning in her work by getting through challenges, learning from mistakes, and being a listening ear for those who need it. Lauren brings experience into her role as a Peer Support from working with developmentally delayed populations and folks struggling with substance use disorder, mental health, and homelessness. Lauren has worked for DDI Vantage, Odyssey House of Utah, and most recently as a Shelter Coordinator at the Volunteers of America Youth Resource Center. Lauren chose to become a Family Peer Support Specialist to work alongside families and youth in preventing homelessness and aiding families to function on their own in hopes of one day being independent from agency involvement. Lauren enjoys finding ways to connect with youth and bridging gaps between the youth and their caregivers/support systems.
Maxie Mc Kay began working at youth services in 2019 as a Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS). She has an AS degree and previously worked in medical administration. Maxie was drawn to the peer support role after many successful attempts at avoiding her own family crisis and has since become an expert at knowing exactly what NOT to do. Working with a peer support specialist herself and successfully completing the program, Maxie learned the skills she needed to understand how to reframe the way she looks at crisis, restore order to her life and family and become an advocate for both herself and family.
Maxie wants to empower caregivers and youth by recognizing their strengths and encouraging them to take crisis and turn it into an opportunity for growth and prosperity. She thrives in supporting families in developing a plan that will promote wellness, even when chaos seems to prevail.
Maxie’s primary location is at the Juvenile Receiving Center. Here, she can support youth whom police have taken into custody for delinquency or ungovernable offenses but that does not qualify them for detention.
Maxie Mc Kay is a strong advocate for families despite whichever crisis is emerging. She is committed to helping stomp out fires and then finding the silver lining in the smoke If all else fails
Shanna Stevens has worked with youth for most her life. She received her Teaching and Coaching degree in 2005 from Utah State University and taught at American Fork High School. She was a team leader for staff and students in the residential treatment community and well as support staff for a wilderness treatment program in Southern Utah. Shana has also traveled to and spent a year in Korea teaching English.
Before coming to Youth Services, Shanna worked at Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation for over 3 years. She chose to become a Family Peer Support Specialist to be of service and support for families and youth. Shanna has a passion for helping youth within the LGBTQIA+ community, working closely with those that struggle with crisis, immediate safety, shelter, and support.
Shanna brings her personal experience to this role by encouraging families and youth to learn skills that help them thrive, find solutions, and discover who they can become through Strength, Empowerment and Self-Love. She has a natural passion for helping others become the best versions of themselves.