New board members and officers elected to lead Palmetto Association for Children and Families

COLUMBIA, SC - The Palmetto Association for Children and Families (PAFCAF) announced the election of five new board members today. The board also selected a new president and secretary.

The board elected Bethany Vause, Executive Director of Lutheran Services Carolinas, to be the new board president. Vause has served on the PAFCAF board for three years and previously held the position of secretary and public policy committee chair.

“It’s an honor to be elected PAFCAF’s Board President,” Vause said. “Serving on this board during the last three years has given me the opportunity to see firsthand the impact this organization has made on its membership and the children of South Carolina. I look forward to not only continuing that tradition but to also providing leadership to our newly elected board members.”

Carmen Landy, Chief Executive Officer of Helping Hands of Aiken was also elected to serve as the board’s secretary. Lex Cole, Chief Executive Officer of South Carolina Youth Advocate Program was elected to serve as Treasurer.

With a focus on improving the lives of South Carolina’s children and families, the new board members and leadership will help PAFCAF continue to provide education, support and trainings to its members who care for the state’s abused and neglected children.

“I am thrilled with the selection of our new board members and leadership team,” said PAFCAF CEO Erin Hall. “These board members’ passion to help children and families perfectly aligns with our organization’s purpose. I look forward to their input on our organizational focus moving forward.”

Newly elected members of the board include:

  • Debbie McKelvey, Executive Director at Windwood Farm Home for Children, Inc. for the past 19 years. Prior to her current role she was the Assistant Director of Clinical Services at Charter Charleston, a psychiatric treatment program for children and adolescents in North Charleston. Debbie has been an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect for several years.
  • Elliot Smith, serves as the 9th President and CEO of Thornwell and is an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). His passion for children and family ministry runs deep as does his commitment to providing a joyful Christian community within which to nurture all God’s children.
  • Debra Eident, serves as executive director for the Children’s Attention Home in Rock Hill.  Debra works with the organization’s Board of Directors to provide vision, leadership and direction for the Home and to ensure it consistently operates in a manner that best serves the needs of the children they serve. Debra’s greatest strengths are her passion for people and her ability to relay that passion to others, her leadership skills and her ability to build effective teams.
  • Tim Duncan, serves as vice president for Programs at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home. In addition to his role as vice president for Programs, Tim is also an active faculty member for the University of Phoenix, Online. Tim has served as the Area Chair for Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Phoenix Columbia, SC campus, and has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, SC teaching a variety of human services and psychology classes.
  • Kelli Kelly, holds licensure as an LMSW in the state of South Carolina and is currently Chief Operating Officer of Growing Home Southeast, Inc. (GHSE). She began her career in social work with Family Resources, Inc., which was located in Beaufort. As Chief Operating Officer for GHSE, she is responsible for the operations of the many programs and services along the continuum of services provided by GHSE. Kelli is committed to the mission and vision of permanency and well-being for all children and families.

New PAFCAF Board Members


The Palmetto Association for Children and Families was created in 1986 to unite the diverse agencies who serve children and families in South Carolina and give them a place to exchange ideas, gain knowledge, and work to address issues related to the quality of care given to children and their families. Member agencies have the ability to serve approximately 3,500 children at any given time. The challenges of caring for these children are great. The Palmetto Association for Children and Families works to promote the best care possible for children.