Our mission is to connect our community, promote healing and dare to dream of a truer, braver future for Hope & Home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

This situation is very complicated and difficult to grasp the full scope spanning multiple years. We've been communicating with various parties on a near-weekly basis since the Gazette Article was published and sharing what is legally and responsibly available.

Tap on a question to expand and close the answer.

The Gazette article states, "Wright believes the situation is the latest development in what he describes as extended 'harassment and stalking' over his organization accepting lesbian, gay transgender and bisexual couples as foster parents.

We believe Mr. Wright is referring to letter Hope & Home's attorney sent Vanguard Church 10/2019, just after the independent investigation:

The full letter is linked HERE. Wendy Neal, the whistleblower who triggered the independent investigation, attended Vanguard church and sought counsel from her pastor, Mr. Williams, before sending her letter to the Board. Ellen Goad was a pastor at Vanguard church and a foster parent and support group leader at Hope & Home. Both Pastor Goad and Mrs. Neal followed proper channels by sending their complaints to the Hope & Home's Board. In response to people following up on the investigation commissioned by the Hope & Home Board, Hope & Home's attorney served two churches, Pastor Goad, and Mrs. Neal with similar threatening letters.

Neither Pastor Williams, Mrs. Neal, Pastor Goad, nor any of former employee interviewed by the Private Investigator have issues with same-sex couples being foster parents. After serving Hope & Home for 10 years, Pastor Goad left to be licensed with Kids Crossing, which also licenses same-sex couples and has no religious affiliation. 

Mr. Wright is deflecting the conversation and would like everyone to believe he is the victim. This tactic is called impression management by association. By attempting to spin calls for accountability into an attack on LGBTQ rights, Mr. Wright is associating himself with a social cause and manipulating it for his own protection and advancement. 

"...The fact that you may disagree with applicable state law and Hope and Home's obligations under law to serve all couples does not allow you to wage a campaign of disrepute on the organization and its devoted professionals...."

It takes time for people to realize manipulation, sexual harassment, and abuse.  Former employees experienced retaliation when they spoke out and continue to fear retaliation.

We have spent 2 years following all formal and legal procedures available to us. Once Mrs. Ballage filed her lawsuit, wherein the legal process becomes public knowledge, we began speaking openly about these issues. Our goal has never been to spread rumors or gossip and we continue to respect the privacy of these women by keeping the vast majority of details, statements, and documents private within the legal process. Every effort has been made to effect change through proper channels because of the high value placed on foster care and the mission of Hope and Home. The lack of action by leadership and our desire for a just, healthy, and safe organization has resulted in a more public outcry. 

To our knowledge, more than 8 women (former employees and one foster parent) have directly experienced sexual harassment by Mr. Wright, behavior which ranges from sexual comments about their appearance, unwanted physical contact and soliciting a romantic relationship. Dozens of additional employees experienced the hostile work environment fostered by Mr. Wright and Mrs. Thurman-Wright, of which sexual harassment was only one contributing factor.

The credibility of these women has been repeatedly attacked by Hope & Home.

One example: Marian Percy, H&H Director of Home Supervision, stated in a foster parent support group 06/2021, "The one person I supervised that talked about.. people looking her [Olivia Ballage] up and down... I consistently had to talk to the home supervisors about like you're coming to a donor event so you need to dress conservatively... nothing really tight... low cut... so that was a person that consistently had that issue going on. She was really good with families, but she couldn't do her paperwork and so that ended up being a problem... "

The defense that Ms. Ballage should have dressed more "conservatively" indicates that the victims "deserve" sexual harassment and that abuse is justified. There is never an excuse to objectify or harass another person.

Hope & Home also shared with current foster families a cropped email mischaracterizing it as Ms. Ballage's resignation letter as proof that Ms. Ballage's claims are unfounded. View both versions HERE

The conversation is not about how Mrs. Ballage dressed or completed paperwork, the issue is that Mr. Wright inappropriately interacts with women, perpetrates unwanted sexual advancements and employees do not have a proper channel to report inappropriate behavior. See the following FAQ regarding Hope & Home's lack of a Human Resources Department. 

In addition to the women who directly experienced sexual harassment, 14 former employees or foster parents have written statements about the hostile work environment at Hope & Home which include but are not limited to:

There are multiple issues at Hope and Home, as evidenced by the number of former employees are asking for the resignation of Mr. Wright and Mrs. Thurman-Wright and the frequent staff turnover:

• Hope & Home has no true Human Resources Department, even as of 09/01/2021. They recently hired Bambee, a third party contractor, to use as a Human Resources Information System where employees can log-in to review HR policies. There is no outside firm for employees to call with complaints. There are plans to set this up, but it is still not currently in place two years after this deficiency was noted by the Hope & Home Board (read specific statements HERE).
• Mr. Wright and Mrs. Thurman-Wright publicly shame and defame employees who are no longer in alliance with Mr. Wright. 
• Current employees who speak up are met with retaliation: demotion, changing job duties, silent treatment, changing office spaces several times, and threatening staff with loss of employment or poor reference.

• In 2012, 4 (out of 5) Hope & Home caseworkers and the casework supervisor resigned on the same day. 
• In 2016, 7 employees left and 4 more were actively seeking other employment (out of about 25 employees).
• In 2019, 5 full-time employees (out of approximately 15 full-time employees) and 2 part-time employees left.

In February of 2021, the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed the claims of 3 former employees and granted rights to sue:

The EEOC issues the following determination: The EEOC will not proceed further with its investigation, and makes NO determination about whether further investigation would establish violations of the statute. This does NOT mean the claims have no merit. This determination does NOT certify that [Hope & Home] is in compliance with the statutes.

Emphasis added. View the dismissal HERE.

The Board did hire an independent investigator through Employers Council. It did not make the findings public. The only female board member resigned the day after Board members reviewed the report because she "did not feel comfortable continuing" her leadership role. The 7 remaining board members decided Mr. Wright needed to attend "Sensitivity Training." Hope & Home's lawyer sent threatening letters to churches and people who asked the Board about the results of the investigation. 

The lack of appropriate action and accountability by the Board is very concerning.

Accountability is needed to prevent further abuse. Hope and Home leadership, by its own actions, has eroded the reputation of the organization. Accountability is needed to regain trust and promote healing.

Hope and Home is currently investing tremendous time, emotional energy, and money in defending a perpetrator of abuse and discrimination to maintain the status quo. This detracts from foster kids and families. This has jeopardized the integrity and mission of caring for vulnerable children.

Furthermore, if the board’s response to a failure within leadership is to ignore and minimize issues, what will its response be if a bigger issue arises? How will it respond if a child is victimized? The precedent established has dangerous implications.

Valuable foster families and employees have left Hope and Home over these issues. Some families have been deterred from foster care due to negative experiences with Hope and Home. This further exacerbates the need for good foster families to provide homes for children. Other families and former employees have become involved with other foster care agencies. Because Hope and Home is the only foster care agency that does not collaborate with other child placement agencies, the transition is arduous and creates artificial barriers to foster care. Experienced and dedicated foster families and employees have left Hope and Home due to concerns with leadership. Hope and Home then experiences a loss in valuable knowledge and experience that children and foster families could benefit from. Inexperienced people are then promoted to leadership roles which they may not be fully equipped to succeed in.

How can employees and foster parents fulfill their greatest potential to promote healing for children if they are experiencing abuse, condemnation, and threats?

In 2012, 4 (out of 5) Hope & Home caseworkers and the casework supervisor resigned on the same day. The casework supervisor reported gross misconduct to El Paso County Department of Human Services (EPCDHS). Casework was taken from Hope & Home and moved to Chins Up. View Mr. Wright's version of events in this email sent to families HERE. Note that he does not have an explanation for the caseworker supervisor's resignation. Up until 2014, when all casework was consolidated to EPCDHS and Savio House, H&H was the only large CPA without caseworkers.

Prior to their engagement announcement, employees tried to report misconduct to Ms. Thurman-Wright, not knowing she was in a relationship with Mr. Wright at the time. Employees continue to have no appropriate chain of command or outside Human Resources Department to report misconduct.

Click HERE to learn more about the recent formal and legal process that have been followed.

Jacque Thurman-Wright started working for Hope & Home around 2007. Mr. Wright and Ms. Thurman announced they were dating to three staff on Hope & Home Management Team in early 2016, but asked it be kept confidential. Their relationship was disclosed to the Board in 2019 and their engagement was announced publicly in April 2020. This secret relationship and the fact that Hope & Home did not have a Human Resources department created many conflicts between 2016 and 2019:

• Sexual harassment and other misconduct by Mr. Wright were reported directly to Ms. Thurman by employees not aware of their romantic relationship. No appropriate action was taken by Ms. Thurman.
• Ms. Thurman was given permission to rarely report to the office in order to complete her duties as Deputy Director and would be unavailable by email, text or phone, yet she continued to receive a full salary.
• Ms. Thurman would be paid in advance for use of her pool "The Swimmery" for events and would not refund Hope & Home for canceled events. 

There has been a concerted effort to tie Mr. Wright to the success of Hope and Home, suggesting that the organization will fail without him. If an organization is completely dependent on one person, that indicates a failure of leadership. Good leaders empower others to use their strengths to accomplish a common goal. Good leaders build organizational structure and culture that are sustainable and can function without them.

Hope & Home is a community of dedicated foster families and employees who are living out their calling to care for abused and neglected children. Hope & Home has over 50 employees running the organization: home supervisors, site managers, the licensing department, child care staff and a full management team. We have no doubt these women can continue the mission of Hope & Home without Ross Wright and Jacque Thurman-Wright. If Hope & Home has accomplished this much under duress, how much more can be achieved without people who perpetrate and enable discrimination and sexual harassment?

According to Hope & Home's 990 online, as of 8/31/2020 the Board Members are:

Dick Shultz, Chairman
• Keith Cross
• Paul Darby
• Bob Lanting
• Roger Van Heyningen
• Dr. George Cresswell
• Justin Ball (resigned June 2021)

In a support group 06/2021, a leadership foster parent stated, "there are 8 people on the Board right now, one is a woman, she is a lawyer out of Denver." and claimed the Board is publicly available online. There is no mention of the Board of Directors on Hope and Home’s website. We have not been able to find information beyond what is listed above. The above-listed Board Members are the same members present in 2019, with the exception of Marla Brown who resigned in 2019 over the Board's inaction after reviewing the investigator's report.  

We have also called Hope & Home to ask who the current Board Members are on 6/8/2021. The receptionist said she would transfer us to Gina Milne, Hope & Home's Chief of Staff, but after being on hold for 4 minutes, the receptionist said we would need to contact Hope & Home's attorney and gave us Ray Deeny's number. One current foster parent asked for a list of Board Members and was directed to speak with Ross directly. 

Hope & Home has over 50 female staff under Mr. Wright. For the past 5 years of tax records, Hope & Home only lists male board members - does the Board accurately reflect the organization it is supposed to represent?

THe goal is not to "take down" Hope & Home.

We can both respect the positive ways Ross and Jacque have contributed to our community
and hold them accountable for their actions. 

this is not about former employees vs. current employees.
there are some amazing staff and families at Hope & Home and there are people at Hope & Home
who have enableD these issues to perpetuate.

this is about abuse of power without accountability.

HOw much more can
HOPE & hOME accomplish

with ethically responsible management

and a healthy work environment?

why does Hope & Home continue to ask for donations

with $4.5 million in the bank?