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Child and Family Well-Being Champions

Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are essential to supporting child and family well-being. Our work supports policies, programs, and systems designs that prevent exposure to child abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences. We cocreate solutions with families, communities, and their partners to promote the conditions children need to thrive: economic security, housing stability, access to quality early childhood care and education, healthcare, and other community supports and resources.

As an organization committed to bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives, Abt uses innovative approaches to support evidence building for child welfare programs and services that aid in mitigating the conditions that drive children and families deeper into human services systems. Our thought leadership, research, and technical assistance aims to enhance individual and community well-being through co-designing data-driven solutions with those who have lived experience. We also collaborate with key decision makers at the local, state, and national levels to support the application of our work and promote equity in the health and well-being of all children and families.

Meet the people who can help your organization achieve your goals:

 

Ginger Pryor, MSW
Principal Associate – Child and Family Well-Being

Ginger Pryor is a national leader in child welfare with expertise in systems improvement methods, change management, adaptive leadership development, and facilitation. She has more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning and holistic organizational development approaches for private and public government sectors. Ginger has a wealth of knowledge employing strategies for advancing child and family well-being and integrating services and supports across maternal and child health, public health, housing, economic mobility, and child welfare. She brings a deep understanding of the social determinants of health and expertise in the development and use of cross-sectoral strategies, policies, and funding to promote positive outcomes for children and families. At Abt, she leads a portfolio of technical assistance engagements with federal, state, local, and philanthropic clients and partners. The projects focus on systems transformation, primary prevention efforts, and working across the social determinants of health. Before Abt, Ginger was the director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services where she oversaw strategic planning and the implementation of initiatives and programs to promote child and family well-being so that families and children avoid involvement with the child welfare system.

See more of Ginger’s work:

  1. Pryor Engagement: Leaving State of Hope Behind?
  2. Be the Blueprint for Change: Georgia State of Hope
  3. Fostering Together TED Talk: DFCS Director Ginger Pryor
  4. State of Hope: Our Journey Toward a State of Hope

Frank Alexander, MPA
Vice President of Systems Transformation and Collaborative Ventures

Frank Alexander focuses on operationalizing integrated social determinants of health approaches to advance health and economic mobility and improve child and family well-being in the U.S. and around the world. Frank is a senior executive officer with three decades of business experience in organizational development, comprehensive and interoperable data management systems, and strategic, cross-sector population-level service delivery, public policy, and financial planning. He has expertise in revenue and resource coordination, budget development and oversight, and strategic change. In addition, he has worked on operational redesign, partnership development, and human capital planning. Frank has served in executive leadership roles in government and philanthropy and has extensive housing authority, housing planning, child welfare, Medicaid, public health, and health care experience. He has proven leadership capacity to build systems-wide transformational partnerships with federal, state, and local governments, community-based organizations, private foundations, universities, business partners, and cross-sector delivery systems.

See some of Frank’s work:

  1. Narrowing the Equity Gap and Promoting Social Determinants of Health Approaches
  2. Building More Equitable Health, Housing and Human Services Systems Post-Pandemic
  3. How can Child Welfare Leaders Advance a 21st Century Child and Family Well-Being System?
  4. Let’s Enhance the Well-Being of All Children by Building Vibrant and Healthy Communities Together

Christine Tappan, MSW
Principal Associate – Health, Social & Economic Policy
Co-Director – Global Center on Technical Assistance & Implementation

Christine Tappan guides the advancement of Abt’s cross-cutting portfolio of health and human services technical assistance, capacity-building efforts, and partnerships across the U.S. She has more than 25 years of experience in government, social, and for-profit sectors and primary and higher education. Christine’s career has focused on designing policies, programs, and services that support the well-being of children, families, and the communities in which they live. She has deep expertise in leading and managing human-service systems and programs, conducting policy analysis and development, guiding and using research, and providing training and technical assistance services. Throughout her career, she has focused on building partnerships that use data and analytics to foster learning, capacity building, and collaboration to generate and implement solutions. Christine is also an experienced cross-sector integrator who has led transformational change at key intersections of the social determinants of health – early childhood, economic mobility, housing, behavioral health, child welfare, and juvenile justice – to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and outcomes. Before joining Abt, she was Associate Commissioner at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services where she oversaw a broad portfolio including economic services, housing, child support, child care, child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, elder and adult services, and developmental disabilities.

See some of Chris’s work:

  1. How is New Hampshire Building a 21st Century Child Strengthening and Family Well-Being System?
  2. Child Welfare Agency Climate: Congruence with Practice Model Beliefs
  3. Using Data Tracking Systems to Improve Child Welfare Services For Children with Disabilities
  4. Identification and Assessment of Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare

Whitney Rostad, Ph.D.
Associate – Child and Family Well-Being

Dr. Whitney Rostad has over 10 years of experience conducting research in communities, academia, the federal government, and non-profit settings. She also has provided technical assistance to support community- and policy-level solutions that address the social determinants of health and promote health, well-being, and equity. Her expertise is in child maltreatment prevention and identifying strategies that reduce the need for child welfare system involvement by examining the conditions that prevent violence and support health and well-being. Whitney’s background includes research on economic and housing supports and healthcare access in the promotion of child and family well-being. At Abt, she works on projects such as Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families, Prevention Services Clearinghouse, and Replication of Recovery and Reunification Interventions for Families Feasibility Study. Before Abt, Whitney provided technical assistance to child welfare agencies across the country to help build capacity to use community-level data to identify strategies that promote the conditions children and families need to thrive.

See some of Whitney’s work:

  1. Reducing the Number of Children Entering Foster Care: Effects of State Earned Income Tax Credits
  2. Impact of the United States Federal Child Tax Credit on Children’s Injuries and Behavior Problems
  3. Moving Youth to Family: Level of Need and the Impact on Legal and Relational Permanency
  4. The Influence of Concrete Needs Relief on Child Welfare Program Engagement, Progress, and Satisfaction

Samantha Calero, MPH
Associate – Social & Economic Policy

Samantha Isabel Calero has 14 years of experience advancing healing-centered, culturally responsive systems of care for youth and families. At Abt, she works across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico on youth houselessness projects. She serves as the equity task lead for the Prevention Services Clearinghouse and the expert collaboration task lead for the Replication of Recovery and Reunification Interventions for Families Feasibility Study. She also is the lead for the Technical Assistance and Implementation Capability Center’s cross-cutting solution development for lived experience and community engagement. Previously Samantha served as the deputy project manager for Massachusetts’s Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare. She also was executive director for the Youth Advocacy Foundation, a legal aid partnership with the Massachusetts juvenile public defenders and was a cofounder of the Violence Prevention and Recovery Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

AshLee Smith, Ph.D,
Senior Research Analyst – Social & Economic Policy

Dr. AshLee Smith works on improving the lives of marginalized people by working on economic mobility, criminal justice, child welfare, and housing. Her expertise is in mixed-method and equitable evaluations and qualitative evaluation research methods, including participatory methods. She also has experience with ethnography, interviews, and focus groups with diverse populations, including community organizations, public servants, and hard-to-reach individuals and families. AshLee currently serves as a senior site lead for Mayors of Guaranteed Income (G.I.) Pilot Evaluations. She ensures rigor and comparability of data across sites and advances the overall body of evidence from G.I. pilots across the country. At the University of Minnesota before she came to Abt, AshLee studied the interplay of social inequities, systems change, and child and family well-being. As a first-generation college student, mixed-raced woman, and former foster child, her life experiences have shaped her goals: to improve the lives and well-being of the marginalized.

Lori Hunter, MS
Principal Associate – Digital Delivery

Lori Hunter has more than 20 years of experience in systems analysis, functional requirements analysis, data analysis, database administration and design, web design, and development. Her projects represent a range of complexities, including usability experience, websites, person-centered design, data systems analysis and visualization, technical assistance tracking, evaluation data collection, and communities of practice. In addition to project management, Lori has more than 17 years of experience working on the Child Welfare Information Gateway and other clearinghouses. Her background includes several training and technical assistance efforts, including multiple Children’s Bureau projects such as the Capacity Building Center for States, National Youth in Transition Database, and Cross-Site Evaluations. She has expertise in all aspects of database design, functional requirements analysis, business process integration, and website production, including database-backed web pages.

Adele Robinson, J.D.
Principal Associate

Adele Robinson is a nationally recognized policy advisor on complex legislation, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, Higher Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Child Nutrition, and other initiatives. At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she helped write the 2016 regulations for the Child Care and Development Fund and a policy statement on early childhood career pathways. In addition to federal advocacy, she has assisted states and local stakeholders with implementation and strategic advising. She led the public policy work at the National Association for the Education of Young Children for 15 years and prior to that she worked in public policy at the National Education Association, National Association of State Boards of Education, and the U.S. Senate. 

See some of Adele’s work:

  1. Funding Our Future: Generating State and Local Tax Revenue for Quality Early Care & Education

Suzanne Gibbons, MA
Senior Associate

Suzanne Gibbons has 20 years of experience improving outcomes for children and families through early education and care. She has led professional development efforts to strengthen the workforce, designed an early literacy coaching program for Pre-K teachers, and managed strategic initiatives to align programs and services for children from birth through third grade. Suzanne managed a team at the Region 1 Office of Head Start, facilitating data-informed decisions and responsive solutions for daily operations. She also oversaw high-priority initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to her roles in government, nonprofit, and research organizations, she has served as a board member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and other local and regional early education advisory councils. At Abt, Suzanne contributes to projects ranging from impact evaluation studies to state policy strategic consulting.

Henry Love, Ph.D.
Senior Analyst

Henry Love is a developmental psychologist and educator with 10 years of experience as a practitioner and researcher in implementing, developing, testing, and evaluating innovative programs to improve the lives of BIPOC families and children living in extreme poverty. Henry has worked with New York City and Oakland/Berkeley to address systemic challenges facing students experiencing homelessness. He also has experience working on several projects funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Henry is committed to developing and testing new programs to improve the lives of Black, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, and Indigenous unhoused families and youth. He specializes in qualitative narrative research, cultural-historical activity theory, critical race theory, and participatory action research methodologies.

Ann Loeffler, MSPH
Principal Associate – Health and Environment

Ann Loeffler has two decades of experience working with healthcare safety net service delivery providers in the U.S. Trained in epidemiology and biomedical policy, she brings a program perspective, an implementation-science lens, and a focus on data analytics to her work. Over the past 10 years, Ann has served as a project lead for more than 10 federal projects involving program implementation and evaluation. She has worked with health center leaders in frontier, rural, and urban areas on strategic planning, market assessments, and growth strategies.

 
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