When Garry Krentz and his wife became foster parents to three siblings 15 years ago, he never could have predicted how thoroughly it would change their lives. Early frustrations with Pennsylvania’s foster system nearly drove them away. Instead, Garry decided to get in the ring and join the fight for a fairer, more compassionate system for the children, their biological families and resource parents.
A self-described novice in public policy and legislative affairs, Garry taught himself to draft bills and drummed up support for the cause in the state capitol. Garry’s advocacy was critical to the passage of several major pieces of legislation: the 2005 Resource Family Care Act, the Activities and Experiences for Children in Out-of-Home Placement Act of 2015 and the Fostering Independence through Education Waiver of 2019. Each of these bills enhanced the quality of Pennsylvania’s child welfare system, with significant expansion of resource family rights and new opportunities for the approximately 15,000 Pennsylvania youth in foster care, including a first-of-its-kind tuition and fee waiver program for in-state higher education or training.
Putting policy into practice
It was hard work and significant effort to get these bills passed, but Garry knew that was only the beginning of the critical implementation phase. He seized the chance to help put these new policies into practice by founding a new organization, PA Child. Guided by the mission “Caregivers Helping Instill Lifelong Dreams,” PA Child offers a range of child welfare services, including foster care, adoption and early intervention, to position youth and resource families for successful outcomes.
Entering the foster care system is traumatic for children, so Garry and his team focus on doing all they can to reduce further trauma and provide a safe and secure environment. At the heart of this approach is a commitment to treating all parties involved with dignity and respect.
A trusted partnership
PA Child currently is contracted for foster placement in 14 Pennsylvania counties and employs 40 full-time team members. To maintain its focus on positive outcomes and advance its mission, Garry needs an experienced and proactive advisor to help him manage the financial and compliance-driven aspects of the organization.
“At the most basic level, our lifeblood is contingent upon maintaining the books and following the letter of law,” Garry explained. “Any financial professional could help PA Child with that, but our relationship with RKL runs much deeper.
One recent example of this trusted partnership is PA Child’s implementation of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Previously, PA Child was an S Corp, but Garry wanted to actively demonstrate his appreciation for his team and drive further accountability and retention in what can be an emotionally challenging industry. RKL provided the tax expertise to manage the transition from S Corp to ESOP in the most advantageous and least disruptive manner. To Garry, this excellent service stems from RKL’s understanding of his goals and the values that drive them.
“RKL has always understood our vision and is plugged into what challenges we’re facing or new initiatives we’re pursuing,” Garry said. “I consider RKL Partner Amy Anstine to be more of an extension of the PA Child team than an outside advisor.”
What’s next for PA Child?
Looking to the future of his organization, Garry Krentz sees continued possibilities to improve the child welfare system in Pennsylvania. PA Child continues to grow, yet Garry keeps the organization grounded in its founding principles and focused on providing critical services to children in need and the families inspired to help them.
Knowing that RKL will help maintain good financial standing and manage compliance requirements gives Garry more time and energy to devote to cultivating PA Child’s network of resource families and growing his team of dedicated and caring professionals. After all, as Garry believes, “good attracts good and produces good outcomes for all.”
To learn more about how RKL can drive real results for your organization, send us a message or contact one of our local offices.