Organizational Changes to Improve Clinical and Therapeutic Support for Children and Families

November 10, 2020

Expanded clinical oversight and dedicated program directors will allow for compliance with Families First Act and upgraded care experience.

Thornwell, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving children and families in need with a residential campus, clinical and therapeutic services, community-based programs and educational programs, has announced staffing changes that provide a more dedicated and clinically focused approach to many of its programs. Thornwell’s current Vice President of Programs Sonya O’Neal is returning to private practice to serve children and families in need. As O’Neal transitions out of her current role, Thornwell is thrilled to announce new organizational changes to support her departure and evolve the non-profit’s approach to its mission.

Effective August 24, Morgan Ednie is assuming the role of Thornwell’s vice president of programs. Effective August 31, Kelli Wild will assume the role of Thornwell’s director of building families. Finally, effective September 7, Katie Brophy will assume her new role as Thornwell’s senior director of clinical services, a newly created position.

Ednie, Thornwell’s new vice president for programs, joined Thornwell in 2014 as a family specialist in the Building Families program and then was promoted to a supervisor, becoming the program director for Building Families in 2016. Ednie’s extensive background in child welfare and experience providing in-home therapy to families and children experiencing abuse and trauma as a child protection investigator and field trainer will serve her well as she assumes this leadership role within the organization.

As the vice president for programs, Ednie will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight of Thornwell’s residential and community-based programs and services. She will provide program vision forecasting and coordinate with Thornwell’s leadership to ensure program growth aligns with the mission, significant trends in the child welfare industry, and creates impactful opportunities for the families and communities served. Ednie will help ensure Thornwell’s programs provide a continuum of care with a full range of services using the standards established by the Council on Accreditation, the Teaching-Family Association, and state and local partners.

Prior to joining Thornwell in 2014, Ednie served as an operations specialist overseeing child welfare agencies providing case management services and as the child welfare training manager for Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit. Ednie completed her bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences at Florida State University and earned a master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy, at the University of South Florida. Morgan is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a TBRI Practitioner, and has specialized training in providing adoption and attachment-related interventions.

Wild, assuming the role of program director for Thornwell’s Building Families program, will support staff members across the organization’s three-state service area (FL, GA, SC) as they innovate and adapt to learn how to safely support children and families in a post-pandemic world. Wild graduated from Flagler College with a BA in Philosophy/Religion, a minor in Psychology, and a certificate in Young Life’s Youth Ministry Program. She obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of South Florida. Wild is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a TBRI Practitioner, a graduate of the Savannah Parenting Institute, and an Adoption Competent Trainer for the State of Florida. Wild previously served Thornwell as the Building Families’ Florida-based supervisor and is excited to return to the building families’ team in this new, expanded role.

Brophy will transition to the role of Thornwell’s senior clinical director, a newly created position designed to provide clinical oversight for the Residential program and clinical oversight and growth assistance for the Foster Care program. Adding Brophy’s role as senior clinical director gives Thornwell the ability to have a dedicated staff member to handle the clinical needs of the organization’s diverse programs, to identify best-practice training needs for staff, and to bring to life a more clinical perspective for its work. Brophy’s new role is especially critical as the organization evolves to ensure it complies with the Families Prevention Services Act and as it seeks to serve children in foster care with greater therapeutic needs.

Brophy joined Thornwell in 2016 as the supervisor of the Building Families program in the Upstate of South Carolina. Before coming to Thornwell, Brophy served in several roles at the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), including foster care case manager, supervisor, program director, and clinical consultant. She retired as the Spartanburg County DSS Director. Following her role with DSS, Brophy worked in Columbia, SC with a provider association, advocating for changes in the child welfare system through legislation and policy. Brophy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Brophy is a Licensed independent Social Worker in Clinical Practice, a Certified Addictions Counselor, and a Licensed Addictions Counselor.

O’Neal’s departure highlights her faithful service to children and families during her time at Thornwell. Over the years, O’Neal’s contribution and her impact on Thornwell has been immeasurable. When she began her tenure as vice president for programs and clinical services at Thornwell in 2014, O’Neal stepped out of private practice therapy to help lay the groundwork for many of the core programs provided today, such as Building Families, Foster Care, and Strengthening Families. “As Sonya transitions back to private practice and Thornwell proceeds in its evolution of finding the safest and most effective ways to serve children and families in need, we are forever grateful for her leadership and dedication to our mission,” stated Elliot Smith, Thornwell’s president. “We are confident these organizational changes will be seamless and positive for everyone involved and look forward to continued growth in our ability to deliver life-changing support to those who need it most.”