Denise graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. degree in Accounting and Economics from Luther College in Iowa and her Masters in Business Administration from Florida International University, Cum Laude. As a C.P.A., she specialized in audit, financial accounting, risk management and consulting. Her past work experience includes firms such as Price Waterhouse Coopers and American Express, Latin America.
Throughout the past years, Denise has fostered dozens of our community’s children. She has adopted four children from the dependency system, who all arrived to the Sasiain home as infants: Isabella (age 9), Xavier (age 8), Daniella (age 7) and Jacob (age 5). Although her life and family are full, she continues to foster one child at a time: “Every child matters.” Over the past years, the Denise has cared for several teenage girls and children with special needs.
Leadership & Advocacy
Denise has served on the board of the South Florida Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (SFFAPA) for the past 7 years. Under her leadership as president, the organization has quadrupled its membership through outreach, support and education.
Denise’s greatest passion is advocating for children and their caregivers. Denise champions foster parents as she sits on the board of the Miami Dade County CBC Alliance as well as her local Quality Parenting Initiative Taskforce. On the state level, she is the Treasurer of the Florida State Foster & Adoptive Parent Association.
At system of care fundraisers and other community outreach events, Denise passionately shares with the public, both the joys and challenges of the fostering & adoption journey. She believes that society underestimates the power that a loving & committed caregiver can have on the life of a traumatized child. An adept and motivational speaker, she loves sharing inspiring stories of her 4 adopted children, and the significant obstacles that they overcome daily. She also penned a blog about fostering and adoption for the Department of Children & Families.
“When a child enters foster care, the single most important aspect that will determine whether or not she is further traumatized, or if the child begins to heal, boils down to one factor only: The love & commitment of her caregiver. The system of care professionals have come a long way in understanding the importance of a Quality Parent (hence, the current initiative). But actual comprehensive support & training, as well as the financial resources that must fund this support, have yet to shift towards the recruitment, training and maintenance of engaged foster parents. No other factor is more important than a child being embraced by the safe & loving arms of a parent who is skilled in dealing with children exposed to trauma & abuse.”
“I believe that foster parents must empower themselves, and become the impetus behind real change in not only the system of care, but also the laws that govern it. We may often feel that our voices are not heard, but when we as foster parents find our collective voice (a voice fueled by the pure desire to see better outcomes for children), its power and effectiveness will surprise us all!”