Healthy Start Staff

Healthy Start

Kristen Copenhaver

Project Director
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Kristen Copenhaver is the Case Manager Supervisor for the Healthy Start Program at The Family Tree Information, Education and Counseling Center. She was previously a Case Manager with the Healthy Start Program and has over 8 years of experience in working with women, children and families. Kristen received a Bachelor’s of Applied Life Sciences Degree from University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1998 and her Master’s in Counselor Education Degree from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005.

Kristen is the proud single mother of two amazing young boys. She enjoys spending time with family and getting together with friends. Originally from a small town in southwest Missouri, Kristen relocated to Lafayette in 1994 to attend USL. After 20 years, she considers herself to be an honorary Cajun.

Jerri Byrd Hodges

Program Specialist
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Mrs. Jerri Byrd Hodges is a Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport. In 2013, she joined The Family Tree team and moved her family of eight, including three fur babies, to Lafayette. This was no small feat, but one she managed with only three pit stops, two interstate fly away boxes and one flat tire. She did all of this with joy in her heart at being able to fulfill her lifelong mission of providing quality care, education, and support to families and their children in the Louisiana locale of her dreams.

Jerri has passionately spent her career working with families and young children in all facets of early childhood care and education. This includes working in the classroom, overseeing several programs as an administrator, assessing early childhood programs, providing services as a certified child passenger safety technician and most recently as the program specialist for Healthy Start. In her current role, Jerri is very fortunate to be responsible for the coordination and administrative support of several Healthy Start Program components, including community events, outreach assistance, writing grant proposals and generating program reports. This experience and knowledge of early childhood development and program administration forges a bond with parents and caregivers who seek to improve the lives of the young children they care for.

Jerri earned a Master’s in Education with a focus on Early Childhood Program Administration from National Louis University. She is the coordinator for The Family Tree’s child passenger safety fitting station and has written several grant proposals to further The Family Tree’s mission of providing quality, yet affordable care to the community. She is also a CLASS observer, Louisiana Pathways Trainer, and a Professional Development Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition.

Tonya Hoover-Quinney, RSW

Case Manager Supervisor
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Tonya Hoover began her educational journey at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., graduating in May 1997 with a bachelor degree in Social Work. After graduating she worked with a variety of different populations, the majority of her social work case management experience has been working with families. Tonya is a registered social worker with the La. State Board of Social Work Examiners. Tonya loves working with families and making a difference, one family at a time.

Brittney D. Williams

Lead Case Manager
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Brittney Williams is a native of Ethel, Louisiana. Brittney is a Case Manager for the Healthy Start Program at The Family Tree Information, Education and Counseling Center. She has resided in Lafayette for two years now. She received her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2010. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University.

Brittney has a diverse case management background, which has allowed her to interact with parents, children, teachers, counselors, social service networks, and numerous other entities striving for the betterment of child welfare and family relations. She is the President-Elect, for the Lafayette Parish Social Service Agency Network, and a certified Darkness to Light “Stewards of Children” Facilitator. What makes her so unique, is the ability to tailor her approach and communication skills to meet the needs of each and every client she interacts with. What motivates her to achieve greater, is the knowing that completing a simple task or providing a resource to her families, can open a door to a firmer family foundation and a healthier start. Brittney enjoys being a “home-body”, spending time with friends and family, and just being happy!!

Maddie Cortez

Case Manager 
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Ms. Maddie Cortez is a native of Slidell, Louisiana but has lived in Acadiana since 2014 and loves every day! She received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a minor in Psychology. Her passion is life to help and empower people to reach their goals and have a higher quality of life. Ms. Cortez previously worked with The Family Tree Healthy Start Program during her internship semester and is excited to rejoin the team! She looks forward to fulfilling the mission of The Family Tree and support moms and babies as part of the Healthy Start team.

Maddie enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. She is engaged to be married to her fiancé Seth and looks forward to their new life together!

Jena St. Ann

Case Manager 
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Ms. Jena St. Ann is a Louisiana native, born and raised in the small fishing town of Buras in Plaquemines Parish. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Child & Family Studies with a minor in Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has always been passionate about helping pregnant women and children; and has enjoyed working with diverse populations in previous years before discovering her home here at the Family Tree. She finds joy in encouraging and assisting families with every day struggles and concerns.

In her free time, Jena enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is enthusiastically raising her little, rambunctious daughter and they enjoy travelling together to places they’ve never been before.

Kayla Thomas

Case Manager
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Ms. Kayla Thomas was born and raised in New Iberia. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Studies with a minor in Sociology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Ms. Thomas believes that it’s never too late to continue your education. She believes that life is all about learning new things, regardless of age. This state of mind fits perfectly with being a case manager and helping change the world, one family at a time. Her “can do” attitude and eagerness to help forges a bond with families and inspires them to keep working toward their goals.

Kayla enjoys spending time with her two little ladies, who motivate her to always be her best. She also enjoys trying new foods and going on family adventures. She can’t wait to continue her own education and hopes to one day become a social worker.

Elizabeth Barker

Mental Health Case Manager & Clinical Intern
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Ms. Elizabeth Barker was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and moved to Louisiana to attend college at Louisiana State University.  She graduated from LSU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Social Work. During her time at LSU, she was on the Dean’s List and a member of Gamma Beta Pi National Honor Society. Elizabeth is currently in her last year at Boston University obtaining her MSW. She has over 10 years of experience working with children and families in both the school system and the community. She has worked as a behavioral specialist in schools, worked in the community as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, and she interned for the Big Buddy Program in Baton Rouge.

When it comes to client care, Elizabeth believes in treating the whole individual and uses several different therapeutic techniques including Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Elizabeth looks forward to using her education and training to help empower individuals and families in Louisiana.