Joint Council Staff & Key Volunteers

Thomas DiFilipo, President & Chief Executive Officer

Tom DiFilipo serves as President and CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.  As part of his work as a child advocate, Tom has elevated the cause of every child’s right to a permanent family through his travel to 28 countries, testimony before the U.S. Congress, service as a non-profit board member for the Council on Accreditation, Focus on Adoption, Discovery Ministries and Joint Council on International Children’s Services, and through presentations, speeches and guest lectures at over 40 child welfare convenings including the UNROW Human Rights Clinic at Washington University and the Russian Ministry of Education Conference on Child Protection.  Tom also advocates on behalf of children without family care through repeated appearances on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, ROTIV Russia and numerous other media outlets.

Tom is currently a member of the Council on Accreditation’s Sponsoring Advisory Council and the executive committees of the Families for Orphans Coalition and the Children in Adversity Policy Partnership.

Prior to his position at Joint Council, Tom spent nine years as Vice President for the CASI Foundation, Chief Operations Officer for International Children’s Alliance and held executive positions at a variety of private corporations.

Marie Blum-Capizzi, Director of Programs and Services

Marie Blum-Capizzi is the Director of Programs & Services for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. Marie comes to Joint Council with years of administrative experience, two Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Dance and Sociology, a Master of Arts Degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and a passion for seeing every child grow up in a loving home. Marie is also interested in researching international conflicts and discovering peaceful and lasting solutions. Marie currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their rescue cats, Hootie and Boh Boh.

Jennifer Mellon Peterson, Chief Development Officer

Jennifer Mellon Peterson is the Chief Development Officer (CDO) at Joint Council on International Children’s Services.  Prior to serving as CDO, Jennifer functioned as Executive Director of Joint Council until the birth of her first of two girls in 2008.  During her hiatus, Jennifer founded two start-up companies and served on the Board of The Campagna Center, which provides much needed educational services to children and families in the DC Metro region.

Jennifer first moved to DC over a decade ago to work for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as their Corporate Communications & Special Events Program Manager, eventually serving as their International Program Manager before joining Joint Council.  Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bucknell University in International Relations and Religion with concentrations in East Asia Studies and Mandarin.

Mikaela Coggins, Programs and Services Associate

Mikaela Coggins is the Programs and Services Associate for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. She recently graduated from Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. During college, Mikaela spent a semester in Washington, DC interning for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and learning about the legislative process. Her experiences growing up in Cambodia and working with foster children in Texas have fueled her passion for the welfare of children in adversity around the world.

Julie Flower, Partnership Intern

Julie Flower is the current Partnership Intern for the Joint Council on International     Children’s Services. She is a senior at Seattle Pacific University and is currently       spending a semester with the American Studies Program in Washington, D.C. Julie is majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Affairs and minoring in Leadership Studies. She is especially interested in human rights and   international relations.

Therese Oertel

Therese Oertel is a Communications Intern for Joint Council on International Children’s Services. She is a first-year undergraduate student at American University, and is a part of the Washington Mentorship Program, a program which revolves around international relations. Having had previous experience of working with young children, Therese was especially interested in working with Joint Council, due to their extensive work with finding adequate homes for orphaned children, and giving them the political support that they need.

 Amanda-T Schlichte, Education and Research Intern

Amanda-T Schlichte is an Education and Research Intern for Joint Council on       International Children’s Services. She recently graduated with her Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Sacred Heart University. Amanda-T was previously an intern at Human Rights Watch, and lived and worked in Quito, Ecuador for one year. She is dedicated to continuing to research human rights issues throughout the world, particularly in regards to children and youth.

Key Volunteers

23 Joint Council Members play an important role in informing Joint Council’s policies, programs and services.  These members serve as the Chairpersons of our Caucuses (large groups of professionals with expertise in select countries or service areas).  In total, over 93 volunteers play vital and ongoing roles in our service to children and families. 


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