About Us

What Have We Done?


Seminars and Workshops

ACT has offered seminars and workshops for attorneys, CASA’s, caseworkers, and foster parents.

Policies of the Child Welfare Departments

ACT has supported and advocated for foster parent rights, the right to call a case conference, early case plans, and contingency planning.


ACT has successfully introduced legislation in Indiana for cooperative adoption, the right to notification of all case reviews, the right to provide oral and written testimony in court, the right to cross-examine all witnesses at a court hearing, and the right to request intervention as a legal party.

Who We Are

JAMES KENNY is ACT’s President. Jim is a retired clinical psychologist living in Indianapolis. Dr. Kenny is the author of thirteen books on children and family, including co-authorship of Bonding and the Case for Permanence and Attachment and Bonding in the Foster and Adopted Child. He is a biological, foster, and adoptive parent.

PETER KENNY is ACT's Executive Director. He is an attorney practicing throughout Indiana and consulting nationally. His sole practice is issues in foster care and adoption. He is co-author of Attachment and Bonding in the Foster and Adopted Child and The Right to a Permanent Home.

TIM POWERS is President of School Datebooks, located in Lafayette, Indiana, and the originator and publisher of the annual Foster Parent Journal. He is a graduate of Hanover College.

MARK BONTRAGER is the Executive Director of Aldea, a child care agency in Napa, California. He is also an ACSW social worker and licensed attorney and has co-authored ACT’s A Daily Journal for Foster Parents.

TOM AND JEAN GAUNT: Tom is an engineer in Indianapolis, the managing director of Geometric Solutions. Jean is a special education teacher. More importantly, they are longtime foster parents and the adoptive parents of eleven, including a family of nine. The latter story was featured in the award-winning documentary A Place Called Home. They are also the authors of “Why and How to Prepare a Life Book” which is featured in ACT’s A Daily Journal for Foster Parents.

DAVID H. SHARP is a graduate of Samford University and a state licensed horticulturist and landscape designer in the state of Alabama. He is the President of the foster parent association in Birmingham, Alabama and is an experienced foster and adoptive parent. David is passionate about advocacy for dependent children and has had success lobbying the United States Congress with legislation favorable to foster parents.

LORI GROVES is a foster and adoptive mother with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She is co-author of the book Bonding and the Case for Permanence. She resides in DeMotte, Indiana.

The Mission of ACT

Children have a right to a permanent home. Yet foster children continue to move from home to home and to remain in foster care for long periods of time. Such moves and continued impermanence damage already vulnerable children. They are hurt, feel rejected, and fail to attach or love.

Many children remain in the foster care system until they are 18 when they become emancipated. They enter the adult world with no committed, lifelong family to rely upon, no support in difficult times, and no roots in the world.

The price of this failure and delay is high. The state's financial price tag is considerable, but the cost to the child is even greater. Crime, mental illness, homelessness, and other serious adult problems are all highly correlated with the lack of stability stemming in good part from foster care drift.

A wonderful window of opportunity opened with the enactment of the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA, November, 1997) and comparable state legislation that followed in order to comply and receive federal monies. Recognizing that one year is a very long time in the life of a child, this legislation mandates action toward permanence within 12 months of the child's move to out-of-home care.

Passing legislation makes permanence within one year possible. It does not guarantee that permanence will happen. Grumbling that such mandates cannot be fulfilled, lawyers moved to circumvent the one-year mandate. ACT thinks permanence within one year not only can but must be done for the good of the children in care. ACT proposes that we stop being slaves to bureaucratic time or legal time and begin acting in child time. A year is a very long time in the life of a child.