Hoggephotolgcrop.jpgDR. JOY HOGGE     Executive Director

“I first encountered Families as Allies when I was working as a psychologist and the director of children’s mental health services at Catholic Charities.  Families taught me what it meant to work in true partnership, and that when that kind of partnership exists, children get better, families thrive and we can improve things for all children.   I then had my own child, who has dealt (quite well and quite independently and often on a baseball field) with chronic, potentially life-threatening medical issues since he was very young.  Traversing this journey with him has taught me how hard it can be to negotiate systems meant to help us, how often I feel scared or judged as a mom no matter what I do, and how much it means to have others in my corner who have been in my shoes.

Getting to work hand in hand with families across the state and the many other organizations and partners who support us is an honor.  Nothing is more important than our children, ALL of our children, having the opportunity to reach their potential and be successful.  My heart is filled with joy each day as we do this work, but also sobered by what children and families face.  I am compelled by the need for change for children in our state.  We will bring about that change only when there is transparency, accountability and everyone, including families, are at the table.”

Joy is a licensed psychologist with over thirty years experience working with children, families and adults.  She has a passion for system change and has spent a large part of her career working on policy, public outreach and ensuring people receiving services were the ones directing reform efforts.  She received her Masters and Doctorate from Texas A & M University.  

Irisbrowncrop.jpgIRIS BROWN    Administrative Assistant

“I, like most others in this state, personally know people who have faced mental health challenges. This along with many other experiences throughout my life, particularly those of being a mother, have helped shape the compassion, empathy, and love I have for my fellow man. Working for Families as Allies allows me to work with people who embody these same qualities and who work tirelessly to turn them into tangible results for the families we support”. 

Iris has worked for Families as Allies since 2014.  In addition to her office management and business operation skills, she is a paralegal.  She grew up in the Delta and currently lives in Ridgeland.  Her family was very involved in the civil right movement, and Iris brings that passion and those values to her work with Families as Allies.  

NFLIPPINSsmallbio.jpgNIKKI FLIPPINS    Training Director

"I am the mother of the "Fantastic Four”, two of whom have significant emotional, behavioral, and academic challenges. I understand the struggle of trying to balance life and children, while getting daily phone calls from my child’s school about behavior issues or requesting that he be picked up. As the Training Director at Families as Allies, it is satisfying to be in a position to provide information and training to families that empowers them to advocate for their child and encourages them to be present and an involved partner in every way, so that their children will have an opportunity to be productive and successful!

Nikki is a licensed masters level social worker and has extensive experience working in mental health, child welfare and school settings. She has worked with Families as Allies since 2013.

tmanningcrop.jpgTARA MANNING     Family Partner

“As a Family Partner, I have worked in collaboration with several school districts, local mental health centers, and other non-profit organizations to advocate with families to provide needs and other services for their children. Each family encounters hardship in their lives but working together to find many resources and success is an amazing thing to behold.”

Tara has been employed with Families as Allies for 6 years but brings over 10 years of shared lived experience to the organization. Tara focuses a lot of her time in the Jackson metro area, supporting families with school issues and also doing outreach about Families as Allies in the community.

hmoorebiopic.jpgHENRY MOORE    Family Partner

“My work at Families as Allies has allowed me the time to share my experiences as a dad who inspires, encourages and advocates for his own children in systems that are not always fair, inclusive and equal. I believe that all children can be successful with compassion, support, encouragement and equal opportunities.”

Henry is a former Special Education teacher who has over 25 years of work experience in education, mental health and non profits. He has served as a Family Partner for 3 years and prior to serving as a Family Partner, Henry served as a Youth Engagement Consultant for 2 years at Families as Allies. Henry is currently organizing meetings and town halls with families around the state.

COREANER PRICE     Family Partner

“As a parent we want what's best for our children. If a problem arises, we do what we can to fix it. I came in contact with Families as Allies during a time I had no understanding about mental health and children with behavior issues. I learned that my voice matters. I received the training I needed to advocate on behalf of my children as well as others.”

Coreaner has worked for Families as Allies since 2010.  She lives in Hattiesburg and spends much of her supporting and working with families in the southern part of Mississippi.  She also focuses on outreach to MAP Teams and helping MAP Teams work in partnership with families in their area.  Her MAP Team outreach takes her throughout the state. 

lsmithbiopic1.jpgLAURA SMITH     Project Director of BuDS

“I am the parent of a vivacious, charming, and artistic 12-year-old daughter who has several learning differences and multiple mental health challenges.  Our family has struggled since she entered Kindergarten to get appropriate diagnoses and to find services that meet her needs.  Every day is hard.  My work at Families as Allies allows me to support other families also searching for answers for their children with mental health challenges.  It is my privilege to advocate with these families as they navigate many complex systems—education, government, healthcare, and various private agencies”.

Laura is a masters level social worker who did her internship with Families as Allies in 2007 and then was hired to work on policy and system of care issues and did so through most of 2010.  She returned to Families as Allies in 2012 to oversee a planning project to expand services and supports in the state to better serve young children with social and emotional challenges.  That planning project resulted in BuDS (Beginnings Determine Success), a four-year collaborative pilot to create those services, strengthen the work force, develop the needed infrastructure in the state and increase public awareness of infant and early childhood mental health.  

sheldoncrop.jpgSHELDON SMITH     Administrative Assistant/BuDS

"Working at for an organization like Families as Allies is a great opportunity to not only help families overcome the challenges they face in the mental health system but to address those challenges on a policy level. Being the parent of two beautiful children with special healthcare needs I have learned a great deal working here that I also use in my daily life."

Sheldon has worked at Families as Allies since January 2016. He has worked in the disability field in several settings and is a retired veteran.

BETTY TURNER     Family Partner/BuDS

“I am honored to work for an organization with such caring people. I learned about Families as Allies due to having a son with mental disabilities. I have learned a lot from this organization. And that makes me want to give back and help other families so they won’t experience what my family did. I also enjoy traveling and getting to meet people from other organizations. My Son and I – “Walk in my Shoes”.

Betty has worked in different capacities with Families as Allies over the past several years. She currently spends time with families of young children. She supports them in learning ways parents, child care providers and mental health therapists can work together to help children do well socially and emotionally.


Carter_Smith.jpgCARTER SMITH

Carter brings over 15 years of experience from working with Fortune 500 companies such as FedEx and Lockheed Martin to having owned his own small business. He has expertise in operations, finance and accounting systems that can be implemented on any business level.  

Carter earned his Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of Mississippi and graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Master’s in Business Administration from Mississippi State University. Carter is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Valuation Analyst. 

Carter is a native of Batesville, MS and is married to Cassie Anderson Smith. They have four children, Havens, Caroline, Tate, and Harrison and live in Jackson. Outside the business world he enjoys reading, running, and fishing.



Families as Allies is funded through generous donations, training fees, grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Services Administration, the City of Jackson and the Department of Mental Health, and contracts with other non-profits and agencies.