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Meet the Team


Erin Johnston

Foster & Adoptive Mom

 Founder & Co-Executive Director

As both a foster and adoptive mom, I have faced many emotions and twists & turns throughout my journey. But the moments that bring me the greatest joy are the moments when the kids that I have the privilege of getting to know experience true connection. I have seen the difference it makes when positive & safe relationships can be formed between families as well as the joy and security that it brings to the children. My faith continues to be the driving force behind my desire to meet the needs of the foster community in unconventional ways and is a constant reminder for me to love without borders. Having a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Business Administration and Political Science,  I was always drawn to work in the nonprofit sector but imagined it would be abroad, never in my own backyard. I am excited to be able to use my background to put my passion for foster care into action and to ultimately encourage the foster care experience to become a united community working together to support our most vulnerable children.


Megan Pearson

Foster Mom

 Founder & Co-Executive Director

Being a foster parent for six years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am honored and humbled to be "the bridge" that connects and supports kids who come into care with their forever families, biological or adoptive. My favorite outreach we have done through Fostering Family Hope has been the prison visitation rooms. Giving kids and their biological parents a safe, nurturing, and fun place to play and connect has really left a special place in my heart. With a background in childcare, I know how vital the beginning years of childhood are to the development of healthy and successful children and my commitment to ensuring that children in foster care and their families have the ability to grow and strengthen their relationships is primary to Fostering Family Hope’s mission and vision for a collaborative community structure within the foster system. 

Our Board of Directors


Heather Kjos

Board Chair
Foster & Adoptive Mom

Heather started her foster care journey about 10 years ago to provide kinship care for one of her family members. She never imagined what an amazing, hard, conflicting, and beautiful experience it would be. Heather now has adopted two beautiful boys through foster care and continue to foster.  She has never had such an important job and they are continually blessed by the families they take care of. Heather loves to be an advocate for these kids, and help families heal and reunite. She is  amazed at the children's resiliency and  loves to see how strong & amazing they become when they have a team of people supporting them.  Heather also loves being a support to families who are on this journey - no one quite understands unless they are in it! Heather couldn't be happier to be part of such a beautiful story!


Jessica Hynes


Jessica graduated from Gordon College with degrees in social work and psychology and went on to work at the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Department of Mental Health. She worked extensively with teen moms and families involved with social services, working to provide them with the services they needed to succeed as thriving families. She now stays at home as a homeschooling mom of five, trying to foster faith, love and kindness in the next generation.


Salestria Buckley


Salestria is currently a stay at home mom to 6 kids, and a step-mother to an adult son. She has always had a passion for children in need of care, and hopes to one day explore the possibility of raising foster children of her own.

She has an extensive but varied background in many aspects of finance. She has been the treasurer of her town's soccer program for over two years, and has sat on the board of various clubs and organizations in her local community. 

Salestria feels honored to be part of an organization that is making a positive impact in the lives of countless families in Connecticut, and is excited to be part of this journey!


Tahji Smith - Pringle

Board Member

Tahji Smith-Pringle is a proud Mother of 4 who also owns and operates Precious Treasures Academy, a preschool in North Branford CT. Her primary goal in life is to provide good quality care, education, and love to children across the world. Tahji currently holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology from John Jay College Of New York and is also working towards her master’s degree in child and Adolescent Behaviors from Southern New Hampshire University. She takes prides in being a great resource for parents and guardians who desire a loving environment for their children. As a licensed foster-parent for the state of CT, Tahji has enjoyed sharing her home with over 50 children over the past 7 years. She has worked diligently alongside DCF in several different capacities to help improve the quality of life for the families she serves. She loves children, animals, education, traveling, eating and experiencing other cultures.


Melanie Mascari

Board Member

Melanie is currently a stay at home mother of two children. In her pre-child life, Melanie spent 16 years working at a nonprofit organization which supports people with developmental disabilities along the Connecticut shoreline. Melanie's interest in foster care grew through the years while watching her dear friends, Megan & Erin, foster numerous beautiful children. Melanie believes Fostering Family Hope is an organization which will enrich the lives of both the children and families of foster care.


DeAndres Milano

Board Memeber

DeAndres Milano is a Psychiatric nurse with 20 years of experience.  She enjoys caring for her population of clients and helping to make their voices heard and needs met. She is  motivated by the ever changing advances in mental health, and is  driven to help end the stigma of mental illness. She motivated to provide quality care to her clients by working with her team and assisting those in need. 

DeAndres is also extremely passionate about children and their quality of life. She has laid the foundation of her home daycare and it is her goal to eventually have a successful running establishment in the field of childcare. She is excited about joining the board and helping those children who are in need through my ideas and working together with the other members of the team. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, baking, and spending quality time with her children and grandchildren. Her family was lucky enough to foster and then adopt a little girl and this program and those in it helped to share love and light at such a difficult and confusing time. DeAndres is  honored to be able to share her love and light to others in need that may be going through some of the challenges they went through.

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