About Us

Childbirth Connection Foundation offers doula support and childbirth education to developmentally disabled and low income women to ensure that mothers with special needs have safe and healthy pregnancies and that their children have the best possible start in life.

Childbirth Connection Foundation also provides at risk children with access to enriching opportunities, positive experiences, and educational activities. Most of the parents are able to meet the basic needs of their children, such as providing food, shelter and clothing, but they lack the means and the know-how to provide much else. While the basics are important, much more is needed in order to ensure that their children are happy, healthy and productive members of the community.

The services include sending children to summer camp, offering one-on-one tutoring and homework assistance, providing school supplies, sponsoring family outings in the community to museums, theatre and amusement parks, as well as funding recreational activities.

In 2007 Childbirth Connection Foundation established our mentoring program to offer children one-on-one attention in order to raise self-esteem and contribute to building positive childhood memories. If you are interested in making a difference in a child’s life check out our volunteer opportunities.

Childbirth Connection Foundation started in December 2005; the natural evolution of a business called The Childbirth Connection, LLC. started by Randi Levinson Kuzmin in 1991 to serve parents who are consumers of the Regional Center.

Board of Directors

Randi Levinson Kuzmin, Founder and President of Childbirth Connection Foundation has over 30 years of community service experience including mentoring, prenatal education, Lamaze childbirth education, labor support and parenting education for the developmentally disabled.

Through Randi’s long history of community involvement and volunteer work, she found the disabled population to be underserved, and consequently were unable to take part in learning about parenting as there were no classes which address their special needs. As a result, she founded The Childbirth Connection,Inc. in 1991, an agency funded by the Regional Centers to provide services for parents with developmental disabilities. Randi began the agency by working with one family at a time; by 1995 she had hired a full time staff to cover the growing caseload of young mother’s and their children. Today, The Childbirth Connection serves over 50 families throughout the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley areas.

In 2000 Randi was recognized by Lamaze International and inducted as a fellow into the American College of Childbirth Educators for making a distinguished contribution to the field of childbirth education.

Bettie Steckel, Treasurer comes to the foundation with over 35 years of experience. She has worked in the fields of developmental disability, sex and health education and is the owner of All About Organizing, a professional organizing business. Bettie is the parent of two adult children. Her daughter has a developmental disability, which drew her to working with this population.

Bettie’s work with the developmentally disabled includes parenting education and independent living skills instruction, as well as support and advocacy. Prior to this, she was a sex education and pregnancy prevention counselor; some of her clients included those with developmental disabilities.

Through Bettie’s experiences, both personal and professional, she became deeply aware of the isolation and disenfranchisement of this population. She realized that the children of these parents need many opportunities to broaden their world and expand their experiences. Being on the board of Childbirth Connection Foundation gives her the opportunity to help make this happen.

Maria Olivares-Iida, Mentoring program chair and active mentor, has six years experience in parenting education and advocacy for children with special needs. Maria has also worked in a domestic violence shelter and volunteered with the Sexual Response Team that assists women and children with advocacy and immediate support after an assault.

Maria received her BA in Sociology with an emphasis on social welfare and a minor in women’s studies.

Maria is currently working from home, running a family daycare and caring for her young sons, Dean and Ayden, as well as attending school to obtain her state licensure in Pre-school teaching and supervision. Maria hopes to make an impact by developing a program that will address the needs of the children that we serve and enrich the lives of the mentors. In these various capacities, Maria strives to continue her work advocating on behalf of children who have special needs.

Advisory Board

Richard Steckel, A former member of the Board of Directors of Childbirth Connection Foundation, Richard moved to Dubai on February, 2012 and became our first member of the Advisory Board. He works as a business and technology advisor and a staffing professional with over 15 years of experience in recruiting and organizational development. Richard has worked in the areas of technology, biotech, online marketing and financial services. With a developmentally disabled sister, he has seen how important support organizations are in making a positive impact in individuals’ lives through advocacy, providing a sense of community, and providing enriching opportunities.  He received his BA in Humanities and Business Administration from the University of Southern California and makes his home in the Bay Area. Richard has helped the foundation reach a larger donor audience by leveraging his experience in networking and technology. He will continue to serve us in an advisory role.