Children's Voice July/August 2009

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CWLA Short Takes

Promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child

A symposium was held in Washington on June 1 and 2 by the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The United States and Somalia are the only countries that have not yet ratified the United Nations treaty. CWLA President and CEO Christine James-Brown spoke at the closing plenary at the symposium, urging all to get involved in the campaign for ratification and calling on the Senate to take up the issue as soon as possible. CWLA Vice President for Policy and Public Affairs Linda Spears also spoke, and Codirector of Government Affairs Tim Briceland-Betts moderated a panel.

The CRC calls on governments to develop and implement policies and programs that ensure children grow up in supportive family and community environments that foster an atmosphere of happiness, love, and understanding. The Convention sets out basic standards, which rest on four underlying principles: the right to survival; the right to develop to the fullest potential; the right to protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and the right to participate in family, cultural, and social life. It is not clear when the Senate will consider ratification, but there is certainly growing interest and support. Read the full text of the Convention at

CWLA Board Expands with New Members, Officers

New members were approved and new officers elected at the April meeting of CWLA's Board of Directors. Julie Sweeney-Springwater, Executive Director of the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors, who has served on the board since 2003, is the new chair, succeeding Ross Wales, Partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP. Other leadership appointments are:Vice Chairs: Lucille A. Echohawk, Strategic Advisor, Indian Child Welfare Programs at Casey Family Programs; and Joseph M. Costa, CEO, Sunny Hill Services
  • Secretary: Rhett Mabry, Director Child Care Division, The Duke Endowment
  • Treasurer: Lowell Kalapa, Executive Director and President, Tax Foundation of Hawaii
  • The new appointees serving their first three-year term on the Board of Directors are: Tamar Abrams, Communications Consultant; Brenda Donald, Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Human Resources, State of Maryland; Larry Liederman, Controller, OptiSolar; and Calvin L. Smith, Managing Partner, Elon Capital Partners, LLC.

    More Calls for a White House Conference

    The Baltimore Sun recently ran an op-ed piece by Andrew L. Yarrow of the nonprofit organization Policy Agenda that advocates reviving the tradition of a decennial White House Conference on Children and Youth. Yarrow points out that there are plenty of issues affecting children that need to be addressed-including deficits in education, problems with health care, and growth of poverty among children. Read the entire op-ed, titled "Children First" and printed May 29, at

    Roxanne Pena, Community Relations Specialist at CWLA member Trinity Youth Services in Colton, California, told CWLA that nearly 100 participants from Trinity and its affiliates Triad Family Services and Advanced Education Services drafted and mailed letters to California legislators urging them to support a White House Conference. CWLA encourages you to add your voice to ours: Join the call for a White House Conference by visiting our website at You can let your congressional representatives know of your support, see the White House Conference Facebook page, see which members of Congress are cosponsoring the authorizing legislation, learn how to get your board to pass a resolution supporting this effort, and more!

    Darryl McDaniels of RunDMC Visits CWLA

    In early May, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels met with CWLA staff at headquarters during his visit to Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), a CWLA member in Washington, DC. McDaniels, from the legendary hip-hop group Run DMC, and a 2009 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is serving as spokesman for CFSA's campaign to increase foster homes; visit their website at for information. While in town, McDaniels launched the campaign with DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Dr. Roque Gerald, Director of CFSA. Ralph F. Boyd Jr., Chairman and CEO of the Freddie Mac Foundation, which is a major sponsor of the campaign, was also on hand.

    At CWLA, McDaniels met with senior leadership to discuss a partnership with CWLA by serving on our Celebrity Advisory Board and helping CWLA and our members spread the word about the White House Conference for Children and Youth. An adoptee himself, McDaniels was enthusiastic and passionate about helping foster children and foster and adoptive parents obtain the tools and services needed to ensure positive outcomes for every child in the child welfare system. We are looking forward to a long and engaging relationship. Look for McDaniels at our National Conference in 2010!

    News from the Hill

    New Faces in Washington

    The Obama Administration has spent the past several months adding to its ranks at most of the Cabinet offices, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). After earlier nominees withdrew their names from consideration, former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of HHS on April 29. A day earlier, the Senate approved her nomination in a vote of 65 to 31. In the position, Sebelius oversees Medicare, Medicaid, most child welfare programs through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and other key programs including child care, Head Start, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Office on Aging, the Surgeon General, and the Public Health Service.

    On May 5, Obama announced his selection of Carmen Nazario to become the new leader of ACF. Formally, her title would be the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. Nazario is not unfamiliar with the position, as during the second term of the Clinton Administration, she served as ACF's Associate Commissioner for Child Care and was later appointed ACF's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. Nazario has worked in Delaware, Virginia, and Puerto Rico; most recently, she has served as an Assistant Professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she teaches social policy and coordinates the Social Work Practicum at the School of Social Work.

    In late June, Obama nominated Bryan Samuels as Commissioner of HHS's Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF). ACYF is part of the Administration for Children and Families and is divided into two bureaus-the Children's Bureau and the Family and Youth Bureau. A Chicago native, Samuels was Director of Illinois's Department of Children and Family Services, a CWLA member agency, where he focused on achieving permanency for children and youth and supporting the child welfare workforce. Since 2006, Samuels has held various positions for Chicago Public Schools including chief of staff to then-head of Chicago Public Schools and now-U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

    Save the Date

    SEPTEMBER 1-December 2:
    Fostering Connections Regional Roundtables

    SEPTEMBER 13: National Grandparents' DayJanuary 25-27, 2010
    2010 CWLA National Conference
    Visit to register. Visit to nominate individuals and organizations for the awards CWLA will present during the conference.

    Dates and locations subject to change. For more information on the CWLA calendar, including conference registration, hotels, programs, and contacts, visit, or contact the conference registrar at or 703-412-2413.

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