Children's Voice May/June 2007

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Executive Directions
From the Editor's Desk
Features
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Executive Directions















Photo by Erin Day
I am honored to write to you as the new President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. For the last 25 years, much of my professional and volunteer work has focused on issues that address the needs of children and families. This includes the 10 years I served as President and CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia's largest private nonprofit organization for health and human services, and the last three years, during which I served as President and CEO of United Way International.

My membership on the boards of the School District of Philadelphia and the Community College of Philadelphia, as well as my volunteer work to serve the health needs of Kenyan children on behalf of the Red Cross, are other examples of how I've been fortunate to serve children and youth. I am proud to now join CWLA's talented staff, and I look forward to steering the important and admirable work of the organization.

My vision for CWLA is very simple: It starts with my vision for my daughter Arica and for children in communities all over the country. I want Arica and all of these children to be happy, healthy, and able to meet their fullest potential.

To achieve this vision, we need strong families and strong communities, and we need to be able to protect every child from harm. As the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization, CWLA is uniquely positioned to tackle this vision head on, but we can only do so if the League and its members are a strong, inclusive force for children and families.

My vision for CWLA, therefore, is to make sure the organization is fiscally strong and positioned for sustained growth, that it provides exemplary services to its members, and that the CWLA family is a strong voice for the needs of children and families.

CWLA and its member organizations have a rich history of service to children and families. It is also clear that, collectively, we need to do more. Change is never easy, but to better position CWLA and the CWLA system for the hard work ahead of us, change is necessary. We must find smarter, more efficient, and more effective ways to do our work. Collectively, we will need to build the trust, open communication, and commitment to mission that will allow us to make the changes required.

I was humbled by the expertise, relationships, warmth, and commitment to mission that was so apparent when I met many of CWLA's members and others during CWLA's 2007 National Conference in February in Washington, DC. It was obvious all of you have a good understanding of the challenges before me as a new executive. Almost to a person, you offered your advice and support.

As I stated during my introduction at the conference, we have an imperative to be an inclusive, strong voice on behalf of children and families. There is a tremendous amount of support from the board, staff, and many of our current donors and partners to make the changes necessary to become a larger and stronger system. With these things in place, we are bound to be successful at ensuring that Arica and all children in this country have the support and protection they need to be happy and healthy, and to meet their fullest potential.

Christine James-Brown


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