About

About Us

Our mission is to promote and assist in the formation of stable families. The well-being of children is our priority. We believe every child deserves a permanent home in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment.


Advocates for Children and Families (ACF) is a non-profit organization that has been advocating for the well-being of children and families in Florida since 1992. Our programs include ACF Adoptions, ACF +, ACF Community, and ACF Counseling. ACF is a licensed child-placing agency that provides professional adoption services to expectant parents, birth parents, and adoptive parents.

We believe each individual considering adoption requires individualized support throughout their adoption journey. Our adoption attorneys and counselors acknowledge the vulnerability of parents in crisis, and our team is dedicated to putting people before the process – ensuring every client receives the information, resources and support necessary for their unique circumstances.

The ACF Staff is comprised of adoption attorneys, licensed mental health professionals, and support staff who are trained and experienced in the field of adoption.

ACF is a recognized charity under the federal tax code. Our organization relies on grants, donations, and corporate partners to adequately support children who are medically complex and/or have special needs and respond to the needs of parents and children in crisis.

ACF is a recognized charity under the federal tax code. Our organization relies on grants, donations, and corporate partners to adequately support children who are medically complex and/or have special needs and respond to the needs of parents and children in crisis.


Robert C. Lamarche, LCSW, JD | Executive Director

Rob has been in the adoption field since 1996. He has worked in both the public and private sectors in child welfare and has experience in both intercountry and domestic adoption. Rob earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Wheaton College, MA (1994). He has a Master’s Degree in Social work from Salem State College (1999) and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2012 after graduating from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law School in 2011.

Rob is the Executive Director/Attorney for ACF Adoptions, a private non–profit adoption agency that has been providing services since 1992. Rob is a former foster parent and the proud adoptive parent of two sons and a daughter. He resides in South Florida with his husband, children, 3 dogs and 9 chickens. Rob is an active volunteer in his community and an advocate for ethical adoption reform. He is a member of the Florida Adoption Council, the National Council for Adoption and a Fellow in the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Attorneys where he serves on the Agency and Ethics Committees.

He is responsible for all phases of legal work on behalf of agency including pleadings, hearings and taking consents. He oversees the agency's financial management, budget, audit, supervises the agency's administrative staff, annual state licensure as well as cooperation with Board of Directors. He ensures that the agency services reflect mission.


Tamara S. Mack, LMSW | Georgia Director

Tamara graduated with a Bachelor in Sociology/ Anthropology from Valdosta State University.  She then received her Master’s in Public Administration and her Master’s in Social Work from Valdosta State University.

Tamara has over 20 years of experience working with children and families in schools, clinical and community based settings and over 10 years in the substance abuse and mental health field.  She served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit and has served on several children and youth boards.


Hillary L. Berger, LCSW | Director of Development

As an individual personally impacted by adoption, Hillary has been actively involved in advocating for ethical domestic adoptions since 2011. Hillary earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA in 2003, and she earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University in 2019. She joined our team when ACF Adoptions and Adoption Authority merged in 2022. Her roles have included serving on the Board of Directors (2012-2014), volunteering (2014), working as the Operations Coordinator (2015-2019) and Executive Director (2019-2022) of Adoption Authority.

Hillary works in our Jacksonville office and is primarily responsible for strategic planning, program development, and program funding.


Jennifer Kelly, MS | ACF+ Program Coordinator

Jennifer Kelly, our ACF+ Program Coordinator, has been working in medically complex adoption for more than 10 years. She is an adoptive mother to 4, including her late daughter, Joy. Jennifer may be the only molecular biologist working in domestic adoption, but she leverages her scientific and medical understanding along with her personal experiences to serve families of medically complex children as they explore and navigate adoption. Jennifer is considered the expert in medically complex domestic adoption and is often invited to speak about the myriad of topics unique to this often-underserved community.

Jennifer is responsible for coordinating the various aspects of our medically complex/special needs adoptions. She also represents the agency at conferences for medical and adoption professionals.


Jennifer Urbay, LCSW, MAA | Adoption Program Manager

Jen has been clinically trained with a trauma informed resiliency framework allowing her to work with in a variety of populations, always with the focus of meeting the client’s needs. Jen has worked in community non-profit agencies and in the healthcare system providing social services to families. Having worked with populations such as children in foster care, individuals with mental health diagnosis, clients who have a disability, victims of trauma, dually diagnosed teens and adults, has contributed to her strong passion of serving families. Prior to joining our agency Jen founded a local support group for members of the adoption community. She is very invested in all sides of the adoption process.

Jen graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology from Florida International University, and then received her Master's in Clinical Social Work from Barry University, Miami, Fl. She also holds a Masters of Arts in Administration from Barry University and has her clinical/LCSW license in Florida.

Jen is primarily responsible for educating and screening new applicants, supervising birth parent counselors, home studies, post placement and matches between birth and adoptive families. She is very committed to helping our families through their journey to adoption and realize their dream of building a forever family.


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Meg Pringle | Adoption Caseworker

Meg graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.

She has been working closely with birth mothers for over 15 years.

Meg does initial screenings, provides support to birth parents and adoptive parents throughout the process and facilitates meetings.

Her dedication, kindness and experience allows ACF to respond efficiently and professionally to all of our client’s needs.


7130 webYazmin Palmero | Assistant Legal Director

Yazmin graduated with an Associate in Arts degree in Business Administration. 

She has been working in the field of adoption for over 15 years and she brings extensive knowledge of a variety of legal and administration skills to the agency. 

Her primary function is to prioritize legal workload in various procedural stages of adoption from initiation of a case, to termination of parental rights and finalization.  She works independently and she supports all legal aspects of our adoptions.  Yazmin is also highly experienced in working with birth mothers as needed.  Yazmin is also available outside of regular business hours to respond to emergency calls and new clients.  Yazmin’s commitment, professionalism and expertise are invaluable assets to this agency.


10 Web2Yaklma Palnero | Assistant Administrative Director

Yakina graduated with an Associate in Arts degree from MDC. She has been working with ACF for over 15 years.

She is primarily responsible for agency's financial management, bookkeeping, accounts payable, audits, payroll/HR, client financial monitoring and reporting as well as generating final client detailed statements of receipts and disbursements for filing with court. Another major function of her position is working on agency's annual state re-licensing requirements, and compiling agency reports for annual tax return. In addition, she is responsible for overall agency administration including insurance renewals. Her dedication, skills and competence are great assets to the agency.


52 Web2Nika Knowles | Administrative Assistant

Nika assists with grant applications and fundraising efforts and is responsible for the administrative procedures supporting these programs.

She provides support on all administrative and adoption procedures and the processing of Medicaid and medical records.

Nika's organizational skills and commitment to the programs are valuable assets to the agency's operation.


Lynnette M. Montañez, LCSW Adoption Social Worker

Lynnette graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Florida International University in Miami, Florida and went on to obtain her Masters in Social Work from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. Lynnette is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida. She has received training in clinical models and interventions. She has experience working within both the public and private sector of adoption. In addition, Lynnette has worked with the following populations: children in foster care, families in shelters, dually diagnosed adults, victims of sexual abuse, and homelessness.

Lynnette primarily works with birth mothers: providing support and counseling, case management, maintains case records and assists with outreach efforts. Lynnette completes home studies, conducts post placement visits and oversees the ICPC (Interstate Compact for the Placement for Children) process.

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