The Future of Foster Care: New Science to Address Old Problems
Kristin Atwood is an Account Executive at Binti, Inc., whose mission is to help every child have a safe, loving and stable family through their work building software for foster care and adoption agencies. Prior to working at Binti, Kristin spent several years working for San Francisco County as a resource family approval worker. Having worked directly with resource families, she understands the importance of a clear and navigable process for getting families approved for possible placement of a child. Kristin strongly believes in Binti’s mission to provide every child with a safe and loving home. In her free time, you can generally find her in the garden with her husband and dogs or out training for an upcoming run.
Kristin is excited to be working towards providing every child with a safe, loving and permanent home through the use of technology, increasing caregiver applications, speed of approval and reducing the paperwork for social workers to allow them more time to focus on the families.
Britany Binkowski is the Director of Strategic Innovation for Youth Villages. Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. They help more than 26,000 children and families each year. Our Evidentiary Family Restoration® approach involves intensive work with the child and family, a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible, and providing accountability to families and funders. The EFR approach produces lasting success for children with success rates twice that of traditional services at one-third the cost of traditional care.While we help children from birth to age 22, the majority of the children who receive services from Youth Villages are between 12 and 17. Children are placed with us because of emotional and behavioral disorders, physical or sexual abuse, substance abuse or suicidal ideation or attempt. Eighty percent of Youth Villages children have multiple problems, which may include developmental or learning disabilities.
Dr. Buchanan has been with the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) since 2000. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. Dr. Buchanan’s research focuses on the inclusion of families and behavioral data to support youth in school, particularly during difficult transitions. Her current work targets behavioral health supports for students in school settings. Dr. Buchanan also works with Dr. Chamberlain on the dissemination of the KEEP intervention. KEEP is an evidence-based support and skill enhancement education program for foster and kinship parents of children aged 5 to 12 and teens (KEEP SAFE™). Dr. Buchanan’s other research interests include measurement of implementation fidelity, instrument development to measure responsiveness to behavioral interventions, and measure psychometrics. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Buchanan served as a clinician on the GIRLS project with OSLC and helped to develop girl-specific adaptations for the Treatment Foster Care Oregon model and teen-specific adaptations for KEEP.
Tim Decker, former director of the Missouri Children’s Division, retired at the beginning of July, 2018, after serving as director for over four years. Prior to leading the Children’s Division, he was director of Missouri’s Division of Youth Services for seven years. He plans to “continue the movement” after he leaves.
Tim is now the founder/Chief Executive Officer at Social Innovation Partners, LLC in Jefferson City, Missouri, where they are developing leaders and supporting organizations interested in government, non-profit, private-sector, and community innovation in child welfare, juvenile justice, education, youth development, economic opportunity, and public safety.
Diana English is the CEO of Child Welfare Consultation Services. Consultation services available through CWCS include consultation and facilitation of system and program design, assessments and service planning for at-risk and vulnerable children, youth and families. Services also include the design and conduct of effective interventions to increase the likelihood of achieving outcomes and the improvement of both system and child and family outcomes. In addition to direct consultation services, services regarding grant writing, the conduct and reporting of research are also available, including advanced data analytics.
Prior to her work with the Child Welfare Consultation Services, Diana worked s a Senior Director in Strategic Consulting, where she was responsible for working with States to improve child welfare services from intake through adoption to achieve improved outcomes for children. In the last two years she focused on developing specific strategies to increase the likelihood of improved child welfare outcomes through systemic change and the utilization of data informed strategies.
Robin Leake, research associate professor at the Butler Institute for Families, has over 20 years of experience in social science and intervention research and evaluation, with emphases on the implementation of evidence-based practice, organizational and workforce assessment and the development for human service agencies. Robin has served as the principal investigator for numerous programs and studies at the federal, state, county, tribal and community level. She successfully designed and executed evaluation and research studies in the areas of child protection, TANF/eligibility, early childhood, education, home visitation, substance use prevention and treatment. Robin currently serves as the principal investigator for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute evaluation to strengthen the child welfare workforce; the efforts are funded by the ACF. She is also the principal investigator and co-director of the Children's Bureau Capacity Building Center for Tribes, which supports tribal child welfare programs in implementing evidence-informed programs that serve children and families.
Sonya Leathers is a nationally recognized pioneer in preparing students for evidence-based social work practice.
Dr. Leathers, associate professor in the Jane Addams College of Social Work, is part of a growing group of social workers who recognize the importance of integrating individual clinical expertise with external clinical evidence.An expert in child and adolescent mental health, she directs the social work training program in evidence-based practices for children and adolescents, called the Evidence-based Mental Health Practices with Children Certificate program.“Effective education of social work practitioners must result in the transfer of their training in evidence-based interventions to actual practice settings to improve service quality and client outcomes,” says Leathers, winner of a UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching.“My goal over the past 15 years has been to develop a replicable approach that accomplishes this.”The certificate program prepares social work students to work with children, adolescents and their families in urban community mental health agencies and other service settings.Her research, focused on improved mental health outcomes for urban children and adolescents, develops implementation and training models for social workers and disseminates evidence-based interventions to community mental health and child welfare agencies.
David began his career at Dauphin County Children and Youth where he spent more than nine years serving in a variety of roles ranging from Caseworker to Program Director. Most of his time was spent on quality assurance operations including oversight of provider contracts and writing the agency’s annual Needs Based Plan & Budget (NBPB). He has spent roughly the last four years working for the York County Office of Children, Youth & Families. He has served in a senior management role in county child welfare for more than a decade. He serves and has served on a multitude of state and county workgroups and community committees working to effectuate positive change for children and families. He has undergraduate degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice as well a Master’s degree in Social Work, all from Shippensburg University.
Rena Mohamed is the Director of Outcomes Improvement with Maryland’s Department of Human Service, Social Services Administration. In this role she oversees work in the following areas: Continuous Quality Improvement, Workforce Development, Families Blossom (Title IV-E Waiver), and Family Centered Practice. Prior to joining SSA, Ms. Mohamed served as the Director of Policy and Practice at Baltimore City Department of Social Services. In this role Ms. Mohamed oversaw a number of support services for caseworkers, including Health and Education, workforce development and quality improvement. In addition, Ms. Mohamed led Baltimore City DSS’s effort to transform into a trauma informed child welfare system. Ms. Mohamed has over 20 years of experience in the field of mental health. During her career she has worked with Head Start and elementary schools across the United States serving as a mental health consultant, education specialist, and trainer as well as within Maryland’s mental health, education and juvenile justice systems. Ms. Mohamed brings expertise in system design, implementation science, and supporting local communities and States in building mental health systems and services for children and families. Ms. Mohamed received a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola College in Maryland.
Dr. Pecora is a professor for the University of Washington School of Social Work. He has worked with a number of social service departments in the United States and in other countries to refine foster care programs, implement intensive home-based services, and design risk-assessment systems for child protective services. Working with faculty from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC), he is evaluating community-based child-abuse prevention strategies in Los Angeles. Working with Walter R. McDonald and Associates, he is evaluating group-care reform in California. In 2007, he was appointed to the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Prevention of Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse to explore issues related to preventing mental disorders among children and young adults. His co-authored books and journal articles focus on child-welfare program design, administration and research.He has worked with a number of social service departments in the United States and in other countries to refine foster care programs, implement intensive home-based services, and design risk-assessment systems for child protective services. Working with faculty from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC), he is evaluating community-based child-abuse prevention strategies in Los Angeles. Working with Walter R. McDonald and Associates, he is evaluating group-care reform in California. In 2007, he was appointed to the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Prevention of Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse to explore issues related to preventing mental disorders among children and young adults. His co-authored books and journal articles focus on child-welfare program design, administration and research.
Emily Peeler joined the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law as a Staff Attorney in early 2016. Emily works on a variety of projects including: the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, Pennsylvania Education Barriers, the Capacity Building Center for Courts, kinship care, and parent representation. Prior to this position, Emily worked at the National Association for Law Placement as a Street Law fellow where she managed a legal diversity pipeline program with law firms and high schools across the country. Emily also worked as a youth advocacy coordinator at CASA for Children of DC. Emily received her J.D. from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, her M.S.W. from Boston University, and B.S.W. from the University of Louisville.
Dr. Kimberly Stone is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington and an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at Seattle Children's Hospital. She is Head of Systems Integration and Patient Safety for the Simulation Program and is Co-Director for Pediatric Emergency Medicine Simulation at Seattle Children's Hospital. She is also a member of the ED Quality Improvement Committee. Dr. Stone received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and completed Pediatrics residency and Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital and Seattle Children's Hospital. Dr. Stone is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Emergency Physicians. She is a certified in PALS and ATLS and serves as a PALS instructor. Dr. Stone's interests are in resuscitation, quality improvement, patient safety, and simulation-based systems improvement.
DNP, is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health Plano and is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Nursing Graduate Program at the University of Texas at Arlington. She maintains a primary care practice and is actively involved in integrated care, public education focusing on the influence of foster care on the developing child, and participation in regional and state organizations focused on improving the state of foster care. Dr. Moore is the treasurer for the Child Maltreatment Special Interest Group for NAPNAP.
Sara Pollard, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern and a licensed psychologist at the Rees-Jones Centers for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center at Dallas and Plano, where she provides integrated primary care visits, and trauma-informed assessments and therapy for children and adolescents in the child welfare system. She completed her doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a family psychology emphasis at the University of North Texas. Dr. Pollard completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, through which she became an affiliate of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She is certified in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Triple P, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.
Dr. Fred Wulczyn is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of the Center for State Child Welfare Data. The work of the Data Center is organized around the use of research evidence in public and private child welfare agencies. A core asset of the Data Center is the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive, which for more than 25 years has been an important source of research evidence used by public and private child welfare agencies to manage their programs. The Data Center provides support to more than 20 states across the US and touches broadly on the problem of increasing research evidence use: building opportunity, creating capacity, and increasing motivation. Dr. Wulczyn’s work has focused on how states respond to children who are unable to live at home. He brings a multidisciplinary perspective to this work, drawing inspiration from disciplines such as mathematics, population biology, human development, sociology, system dynamics, and social work. His contributions to research evidence use focuses on the evidence needed to operate complex systems. In addition, his current work on human capital formation in New York City addresses the way policymakers think about child well-being and public investment in children.After helping to launch Chapin Hall in 1985, Dr. Wulczyn spent a decade working for the New York State Department of Social Services. During his tenure there, he developed two waiver programs. The Child Assistance Program changed how the state provided financial support to single mothers. The Home Rebuilders Program lead to the National Waiver Program, used by more than 30 states to promote innovation. Dr. Wulczyn received a PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, a Master of Social Work from Marywood University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Juniata College.