Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can the population of children in foster care be cut in half safely? Or will the children suffer?

Casey Family Programs Hires Los Angeles County Child Advocate
Press Release, Casey Family Programs, Feb. 11, 2008.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb 11, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Casey Family Programs has hired well-known child advocate Bonnie Armstrong as director of strategic consulting in Los Angeles. Armstrong will advance Casey's 2020 Strategy by supporting the work of Los Angeles County to safely reduce the number of children in foster care.

Casey Family Programs' 2020 Strategy has three goals:
-- To safely halve the number of children in foster care by the year 2020
-- To reinvest savings to strengthen the child welfare system
-- To improve the lives of youth in foster care so they can become
self-sufficient, healthy adults

Armstrong will work with the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Armstrong was the director of advocacy and community development for the West Region (Arizona, California and Hawaii) of Casey Family Programs until 2002. In that position, she was responsible for establishing Casey's presence in Los Angeles County. This includes the Pasadena Alumni Support Center for youth aging out of foster care.

"We are thrilled to have Bonnie back at Casey. She brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and vision that embodies the foundation's 2020 strategy," said Miryam J. Choca, senior director of strategic consulting at Casey Family Programs.

Armstrong has also served as senior fellow at the Foundation Consortium for California's Children & Youth. There she led a public-private partnership between state government and philanthropy that resulted in significant changes in policy and practice for the child welfare system in California. More recently, she was the Southern California deputy director of the Child Abuse Prevention Center.

In her 35-year career, Armstrong has served at the federal, state, county, municipal and school district levels in elected, appointed, and volunteer capacities. These include policymaker, philanthropic leader, advocate and advisor. She served under two Florida governors as Special Assistant for Health and Social Services. In Southern California, she was a founding member of both the Los Angeles County Children's Planning Council and the Los Angeles Roundtable for Children, and she chaired the Pasadena Commission on Children and Youth and the Family Community Council. As an elected School Board member, she pioneered a consortium model of school-based mental health services in the Pasadena Unified School District.

"Bonnie has the experience and the network in the Los Angeles area that Casey Family Programs is looking to build upon, and we could not have anyone better than Bonnie to support sustainable systems change," added Choca.

"I've worked both locally and across the country on efforts to improve outcomes for children and families; helping develop local capacity for building healthier communities. I'm really looking forward to working with Casey to deepen and broaden the great work that is happening in L.A.," Armstrong said in a statement.

Armstrong is the author of numerous publications, including Making Government Work for Your City's Kids, Youth Development Planning Guide, Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Futures and Cities and Schools: Partners for Children and Families. She holds a master's degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College.

Armstrong will be based in the Casey Family Programs office in Pasadena, where Casey Family Program's direct service work is also based. The direct service work in Pasadena is led by Yakiciwey Mitchell and serves over 1500 youth and families through community collaborations. These support relative caregivers at the Kinship in Action Center (a partnership with the Community Coalition) and foster youth transitioning to successful adulthood at the Pasadena Alumni Support Center (a partnership with DCFS, the Probation department and the Foothill Workforce Investment Board).

About Casey Family Programs

Casey Family Programs is the largest national foundation whose sole mission is to provide and improve -- and ultimately prevent the need for -- foster care. The foundation draws on over 40 years of experience and expert research and analysis to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care in two important ways: by providing direct services and support to foster families, and by promoting improvements in child welfare practice and policy. The Seattle-based foundation was established in 1966 by UPS founder Jim Casey, and has a current endowment of $2.5 billion.

For more information, contact Casey Family Programs at info@casey.org or 1300 Dexter Avenue North, Floor 3, Seattle, WA 98109. Visit our Web site at http://www.casey.org.

SOURCE Casey Family Programs


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