Family Forward Advocacy CT
Founders & Action Team
Maureen A. O'Neill - Davis
Maureen grew up in northwest Connecticut enriched by her family's specialty hospital business. For 22 years, substance abuse and mental health treatment services introduced Maureen to the impact of early trauma on the human condition. Maureen pursued a rewarding professional path as a Florida marketing executive in the concert and festival promotion industry. Later, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to real estate development and small business ownership.
A family tragedy changed her course, leading her and her husband to adopt their nieces, followed by a return to Connecticut. Parenting their trauma-impaired girls proved chaotic, even dangerous, riddled with psychotic episodes, isolation and vilification, and a lack of responsive resources. Maureen's frustration with the harmful child-serving systems and the harm inflicted on her, her family, and her struggling, troubled daughter, is her why for parent and public policy advocacy.
Cheryl A. Brown
Co-Founder/ Vice President/ Director of Development
Born and raised in central Connecticut by parents who were both attachment-disrupted orphans themselves, Cheri's decision to adopt came at a very early age. After living a fantastically robust life, funded by a successful corporate executive career, Cheri adopted a traumatized, attachment-disrupted sibling group in need of a forever home.
Cheri’s sweet three came with more trauma in their bones than she knew was possible. Advocacy for child welfare reform and family integrity developed from the education provided by the unmet depth of her children's mental health needs, the harmful interventions of the very Connecticut child-serving systems that formed their [adoption] family, and the clear evidence that our lawmakers were in need of this knowledge and information.
Director of Fundraising
Philidelphia born, Denise is a dynamic individual whose journey has been as diverse as it is inspiring. She flourished at Drexel University, followed by a 25-year adventure with Disney and Warner Bros. Denise transitioned to fine jewelry design, infusing creativity with reflection, and partnered with her husband for a successful automotive shop and the adoption of their 2 ½-year-old daughter from Hungary.
Witnessing her daughter's mental health struggles ignited Denise's passion for advocacy. Following the passing of her loving husband, Denise emerged strong and aligned herself with the kindred spirits she found in Cheri and Maureen with Family Forward Advocacy CT. Denise champions childhood trauma awareness in communities and offers guidance to parents facing similar challenges. Together, their message resonates: "You are not alone.”
Our Family Forward ACTion Team
Services for the Deaf
Shayna Wilson is the proud mom of 3 beautiful girls. Shayna began learning American sign language while taking parent sign language classes at the school for the deaf when her daughter was just 3 years old in 2004. Shayna further immersed herself in deaf culture by becoming a residential counselor at The American School for the deaf from '11-'17. Shayna has gone on to advocate for her daughter throughout the state of Connecticut on issues such as childcare reform with a focus on children with mental health needs.