Making Vulnerable Children and Families a National Priority

Twenty five years ago I was asked to lead a residential facility in Massachusetts that was in the midst of a significant crisis. As I began my tenure there, I was overwhelmed by the critical issues that it faced. The interim administrator advised me to contact the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) to seek some advice on how to rectify the situation. It turned out to be the best advice I received and the beginning of a partnership with the premiere child welfare organization in the country. Throughout that very challenging period in Massachusetts I was able to count on CWLA for expert advice on organizational, practice and advocacy issues–that was true then and it is true today.

In addition to the support that I received over these years, some wonderful relationships have developed with colleagues from around the country who have served as role models for me in this field. Their willingness to lend an ear, offer advice and provide encouragement has been a wonderful collateral benefit of my membership and one of the principle reasons I have stayed so involved with CWLA.
For the past few years I have served on the Western Regional Advisory Committee of CWLA, as its chair and most recently as the regional representative to the CWLA Board of Directors. While on the board I have chaired a number of committees, served as a vice chair and on May 14 was selected as the chair of the board for the next two years.
Like most national membership organizations, CWLA has been impacted by the economic downturn of the past several years. In spite of the recent challenges, CWLA has remained faithful to its historic mission to be a strong voice for vulnerable children and their families, advocating for their needs to be a national priority! Unlike other membership organizations that may be quickly dismissed as self-serving interest groups, CWLA is truly seen as a leadership organization, bringing together both the public and private sectors to advance excellence in practice as well as advocating for what is best for children and supporting its members to be more effective.
I am honored to serve as the CWLA Board Chair and can only hope that I might, along with its dedicated staff and faithful members, help give voice to the often forgotten vulnerable children and families of our nation. I am particularly pleased that this leadership opportunity might also serve to feature Hillsides as a strong partner with CWLA in effectively advocating at a national level for the children and families we serve.
As always, my efforts are strengthened by the support I receive from the Hillsides community. Learn more about CWLA at www.CWLA.org and join with me to make the needs of vulnerable children and families a priority not only in our community, but nationally. 

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