Building on legacy to create systems change

Brian Maness, president/CEO of Children's Home Society of North Carolina; Mike Shaver, president/CEO of Children's Home Society of Florida; and George Sheldon, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, presented during Children's Home Society of America's Congressional briefings on Feb. 16 in Washington, D.C.

Brian Maness, president/CEO of Children's Home Society of North Carolina; Mike Shaver, president/CEO of Children's Home Society of Florida; and George Sheldon, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, presented during Children's Home Society of America's Congressional briefings on Feb. 16 in Washington, D.C.

As a 120-year-old organization, Children's Home Society of Washington has a storied history that has changed the lives of thousands of children throughout the United States. 

  • In 1899, our founder, Rev. Harrison D. Brown, helped write the first child welfare laws in Washington state.
  • In the early 1900s, we became a part of the national movement Children's Home Society of America (CHSA) that worked to improve the quality of services for children and their families throughout the country.
  • In the early 1920s, we were one of the founding members of the Child Welfare League of America.
  • In the early 2000s, Children's Home Society of Washington led an effort to reincorporate CHSA in an effort to rekindle the passion to bring forth the thousands of unheard voices of America's children. 

Children's Home Society of Washington recently established the President's Office that will continue our legacy to create systems change at the state and national levels. 

I am honored to serve as the senior director of the President's Office and I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with our representatives. I appreciated staff for Sen. Patty MurrayRep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Derek KilmerRep. Dave Reichert and Rep. Adam Smith who were willing to discuss the pivotal issues impacting our children and families around the state.

Children's Home Society of Washington also participated in two Congressional briefings as part of CHSA. The briefings explored how the federal government can incentivize the public child welfare system to leverage existing resources through innovative partnerships and collaborations to meet the needs of children and their families.

In addition to our work nationally, we have been supporting a number of statewide issues this legislative session, including the creation of the new Department for Children, Youth and Families. Alise Hegle has been serving as our advocacy lead as well as supporting the Washington State Parent Ally Committee

As part of the work of the President's Office, we look forward to working alongside policymakers in finding new solutions that improve the lives of children in Washington state and beyond.

Janica Lockhart is the senior director for the President's Office at Children's Home Society of Washington.