Protecting our clients and staff during COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and in protection of our community’s health, we’ve made alternative arrangements for many of our services, info meetings, and events. Please see our events and meeting tab for details on each specific event, some of which are changing to an online format. Please contact our office with questions on office hours, services, or events.

Meet The Team

Nicholas S. Szara

Nicholas S. Szara

Director of Intact Family Services - Mattoon

Nick joined Bethany Christian Services in February, 2020 as the Intact Families Director. He has over 16 years of experience in Intact services, as well as foster care, SASS, CCBYS, Outpatient, In Home Therapy, Delinquency Prevention, Teen Parenting, and IDD services. He has a six month old son Joseph (Joe Joe) with his wife Gina. Nick has a M.S., Psychology from Walden University, and resides in McHenry County, frequently visiting the Intact sites throughout central and southern Illinois.

Misty Spencer

Misty Spencer

Central Illinois Adoption Specialist - Southern Illinois

Misty Spencer is an adoption specialist who earned her master's degree in social work from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Misty has experience in crisis work, foster care case management, mental health, and adoption work. She and her husband recently started fostering a child in their home and have also hosted children through Safe Families for Children. Misty enjoys partnering with ministries focused on bringing God's hope and restoration to hurting people.

Brittaney E. Warchol

Brittaney E. Warchol

Intact Family Worker - Southern Illinois

Brittaney currently serves as an Intake Family Worker at Bethany. She received her Bachelors degree in Social Work from Southern Illinois, and is currently working on her Masters in Social Work. Brittaney has several years of experience at working at a crisis nursery, as an educational advocate for sexual assault unit, and as an inpatient adolescent substance abuse counselor before spending the last several years as a nanny to multiple wonderful families.

Elizabeth Ham

Elizabeth Ham

Intact Caseworker - Southern Illinois

Elizabeth joined Bethany Christian Services in 2020. She has her master’s degree in social work. Before becoming an Intact Caseworker with Bethany, Elizabeth worked as a Child Protection Intake Caseworker. She also has experience working as a Homeless Resource Case Manager at a homeless shelter. Elizabeth is passionate about being rooted in Biblical Truth, and endeavors to help others to excel in their faith walks, through learning their identity in Jesus Christ. She has a black lab named Duke and likes to travel to new places and experience local favorites.

Kristen Kinnear

Kristen Kinnear

Intact Family Supervisor - Southern Illinois

Kristen Kinnear joined Bethany Christian Services in 2017. She has ten years of experience in child welfare, community based mental health, and nonprofit management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management and her master’s degree in professional counseling. Kristen is a native of the Metro East Area, where she resides with her husband, Marc, and two children.

Lacquita Nixon

Lacquita Nixon

Intact Family Worker - Southern Illinois

Lacquita Nixon earned her bachelor’s degree in urban education/urban studies from Harris-Stowe State College and is working towards a master’s degree in human service from Webster University. She has experience in foster care case management and working with low income families. She is learning American Sign Language as a second language. Lacquita lives with her two daughters and her dog Onyx.

Lorenza Knuckles

Lorenza Knuckles

Intact Family Services Case Worker - Southern Illinois

Lorenza earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies from Harris Stowe-State University and plans on obtaining her master’s degree in Social Work. She has experience in foster care case management and working in residential as a youth specialist for Missouri Children’s Division. Lorenza is a true believer in supporting others and cannot wait to serve the families within Bethany Christian Services. Outside of work, Lorenza enjoys spending time with husband and her sweet dog Nala.

Markus Genous

Markus Genous

Intact Family Services Worker - Southern Illinois

Markus is currently an Intact Family Services Worker at Bethany. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University, and also received a Masters in Human Services from Purdue University Global. Markus has prior experience in foster care case management and licensing foster parents. Markus also worked as a job coach and youth care worker for at-risk teens. He is originally from the Chicago area and his a huge Bears fan. Markus loves traveling with wife, skating and fishing.

Michelle Massey

Michelle Massey

Intact Family Services Supervisor - Southern Illinois

Michelle obtained her Masters of Social Work and Masters of Pastoral Studies through a dual program at St. Louis University and Aquinas Institute of Theology in 2015. She also has a Bachelors in Social Work from Murray State University in Kentucky. She has 4 years of child welfare experience in foster care casework and licensing. She has previous experience working with adults with mental health diagnoses in various roles, including community case management in the Dallas TX area. Michelle is passionate about empowering others to know their dignity and worth as children of God. She is active at her church in Caseyville and lives with her husband, Tim and two adorable dogs, Scout and Zephyr.

Nathaniel Carlson

Nathaniel Carlson

Intact Family Worker - Southern Illinois

Nathaniel is an Intact Family Worker in Granite City. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Social Work in 2014 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and has since worked primarily in the substance abuse treatment field. He also participated in internships with Epworth Children and Family Services and the Youth Exploring Science (YES!) program, and is excited at the opportunity to reflect the love of Christ in serving families in the surrounding areas through BCS.

Shae Lutes

Shae Lutes

Intact Family Worker - Southern Illinois

Shae Lutes earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She has experience working in children’s ministry and is passionate about spreading the love of Christ through her everyday actions. She interned with Epworth Children and Family Services where she helped provide outreach and resources to youth in the surrounding communities. She lives in Belleville and enjoys spending time at home with her family.

Shantrena Washington

Shantrena Washington

Intact Family Services Supervisor - Southern Illinois

Trena obtained her Master’s degree in Legal Studies with a Paralegal Certificate from Webster University. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has worked in the child welfare field for over 20 years. For the last 19 years, she worked for the Missouri Department of Social Services as a Child Abuse Investigations Supervisor and a Child Abuse Investigator. She has held leadership positions, such as Co-Chair of the Supervisor Advisory Committee and Member of the Child Fatality Review Board. She believes that it is vital that each family recognizes, develops and uses their own strengths to manage their family’s needs and wants. Trena is totally committed to seeing that safety is achieved for every child. She is married to a police officer and they have four children.

Jalyn Penny

Jalyn Penny

Intact Family Services Case Manager - Southern Illinois

Jalyn is an Intact Family Services Case Manager who received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She plans to continue her education and receive a Master’s degree in social work in the near future. Jalyn has worked with children and families in a variety of different ways in the past few years including: Volunteer Activities Coordinator for HeadStart, a camp counselor for the Salvation Army, and most recently an intern for Lutheran Child and Family Services. Jalyn lives with her adorable and loving cat Lennox.