Our foster care staff is composed of people just like you. Caring individuals with a heart for helping children in need.

Byron Dendy

Thornwell Foster Care Director Byron DendyByron Dendy is a native of Clinton, South Carolina.  He graduated from Clinton High School and attended South Carolina State University.

After college, Byron began his career in Human Services as a manager for Laurens County Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Board where he ensured the safety and full human potential of the clients that were served.  After serving DDSN and its clients for 10 years, Byron moved into the realm of Child Welfare services as a Foster Care case manager with the Department of Social Services in Greenville, SC. Byron was quickly promoted to Foster Care Supervisor and then Program Director. In 2012, he accepted an appointment as the County Director for Newberry County Department of Social Services. Then, 2013, he accepted an appointment as the Director of Laurens County Department of Social Services. In July of 2016, he joined the newly created Foster Home division at Thornwell as its Director of Foster care.

Byron is married and has one daughter.

Byron attributes his success to a God-given ability to care for others and translating that caring into meaningful work that transforms the lives of those who need it most. He is looking forward to using the skills he has attained to recruit and train skilled foster home families to meet the great need in South Carolina.


Jonathon Sampson

Jonathon Sampson, a Thornwell foster care staff member, stands in front of the House of PeaceJonathon Sampson worked as a paramedic before coming to Thornwell three years ago. As Jonathon puts it, his career working on an ambulance gave him “the chance to help people and be the hands and feet of Jesus in their time of need.” At the time, Jonathon and his wife, Heidi, lived in western New York, where Jonathon was born and raised.

And, at the time, Heidi, was unhappy with her own job and looked for jobs online. She focused on careers related to foster care since the two had discussed foster care and adoption throughout their marriage. Heidi discovered HouseParent.Net and applied to five group homes, including Thornwell. Jonathon and Heidi looked into Thornwell and were impressed with their programs and the quality of their work. They were sold on Thornwell after traveling nearly 1,000 miles for an interview.

Jonathon put his paramedic career in his rearview mirror and moved to work as a family teacher with Heidi at Thornwell. They brought their golden retriever, Phoebe, with them. In three years, the two were blessed to care for 67 foster children. Jonathon wrote about his experience as a family teacher and continues to share the joys and hardships of foster care in his Wholly Loved blog.

Jonathon’s love for foster care has only grown since he’s been at Thornwell. As a foster care regional recruiter, he hopes to use his knowledge and experience to guide families in upstate South Carolina towards blessing the kids who need it most.


Robert Whitney

Robert Whitney, a Thornwell staff member, stands in front of House of PeaceBefore coming to Thornwell, Robert Whitney started a swing dance organization and managed it as a non-profit for eight years. In fact, Robert met his wife, Kalyn, at a swing dance in Orlando. The two love children and have fostered a boy and two girls during their five years of marriage. Robert and Kayla are dog lovers, too, and have a lab and a German shepherd at their home in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Robert serves the Upstate of South Carolina as Thornwell’s foster care regional recruiter. In the role, Robert encourages foster care parents and provides them with what they need to succeed. His passion is to make sure that no foster child goes without a family.

Robert is now an advocate of foster care, but this wasn’t always the case. Robert and Kalyn have struggled having kids of their own during their marriage. Kalyn first introduced the idea of fostering, but Robert was reluctant. However, he’s been passionate about foster care since taking foster care classes and immersing himself in foster care life.

Robert and Kalyn attend Simpsonville First Baptist Church. In his pre-foster parent life, Robert traveled to Florida to complete his degree in Youth Ministry from Word of Life Bible Institute in 2007. He then went on to earn his degree in Communications at Spartanburg Community College. Robert has also worked as a realtor in Upstate South Carolina.


La Fawn Hughes

Thornwell Foster Care staff member LaFawn Hughes stands in front of the House of Peace on the Thornwell campus.La Fawn holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Lander University and an M.Ed. from Clemson University. La Fawn has 24 years of experience working with children and families in the foster care system as a clinical coordinator for a therapeutic foster care program and a Wendy’s Wonderful Kid Adoption recruiter through the Dave Thomas Foundation.

La Fawn is a single parent to an 18 year old daughter, Savannah, who is currently a college freshman.

La Fawn has the passion to offer support to children from hard places to understand that with God there is always a bright future in spite of any trauma experienced.

Contact Us

Please call 864-938-2100 or complete the form below to begin your foster care journey or to ask how we can help you with foster care.

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