Rene has been married for 37 years, has three daughters and three grandchildren. Several years ago she and her husband fostered their nephew and his sister on two different occasions. This experience inspired her to author the book Whose Best Interest.
Rene is an appointment member to the Missouri Children’s Justice Task Force (CJA), Critical Event Review Committee. In 2008, she began volunteer work throughout Missouri as a child advocate, speaking to students in classrooms all across the country. The responses from the students lead Rene to found the COPE24…Changing Our Parenting Experience organization.
The first project taken on by this organization was the COPE24 Parenting Skill Program. Rene originated this program based upon the inspiration provided by the more than 23,000 students to which she has spoken.
The second project is the documentary video titled The Life Sentence. This documents the stories of four families whose infants were shaken or suffered severe head trauma and survived. These families give testimony of the event and allow the viewer to see the quality of life for these children several years later. This video is extremely emotional and not something our youth will soon forget.
Currently, she is working on a new series of documentary videos. The series is titled Elements. Each video in this series will subject a common issue often seen in families where abuse/neglect has been identified like immaturity, drugs/alcohol, domestic violence, absent fathers, mental health, poverty, child endangerment, etc. In December 2015 COPE24 released the first video in this series titled Life-Line. This video focuses on the element of immaturity and what an unplanned pregnancy means when there is no support system. January 2017 the second video in this series Parenting Under The Influence was released. The topic of this video is drugs, alcohol and parenting.
Rene has also recently released her first children’s book titled Fosterhood. Introducing children to concepts like fostering and adoption, at a young age, may be helpful for the needs of child welfare as we move forward. The first book in this series was released December 2015and is titled Fosterhood…Let’s Explore.
Rene spends a significant portion of her time speaking in middle and high school classrooms across the nation. She also provides presentations and key note speaking at churches, universities, teacher conferences, and advocacy events.