For over 30 years, Ben has been bringing together leaders and policymakers in academia, child welfare, justice systems and related fields to make change and improve lives of vulnerable children, adults, and families. Ben directed child welfare services for the State of Oregon, and served there in a variety of leadership positions for nearly 20 years. He has also led two university-based research centers and was the managing director of Casey Family Programs' State Strategy Division. Ben was the founding president of the Children's Justice Alliance, and former president of the Oregon Children's Trust Fund Foundation, a private endowment focused on preventing child maltreatment. He holds a master's degree in public administration from Lewis and Clark College and a Ph.D. in social work and social research from Portland State University.
Mark specializes in conducting rigorous research studies of prevention and intervention programs intended to benefit children and families. He is committed to forging relationships between the research community and practitioners and policy makers, with the shared goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Prior to joining POC, he served as a senior scientist and a licensed psychologist at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) for 25 years. In recent years, his work has centered on the conduct of randomized controlled trials of prevention programs delivered within systems of care relevant to children and families. In addition to being a licensed psychologist, Mark is an associate editor of the professional journal Prevention Science, and he co-edited the recently published book, Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners (Urban Institute Press). He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Texas A&M University and a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Oregon, completed a clinical internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and served as a senior research principal at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Laurie leads efforts to inform and support child welfare policy choices that improve outcomes for children in Washington State through the utilization of scientific research, policy analysis, and national best practices. Laurie earned a master's in social work at the University of Chicago and began her career working with pregnant and parenting teens in inner city Chicago. A longtime advocate for children in Washington State, Laurie worked for Children's Home Society of WA, The Family Policy Council, The Children's Alliance, and Youth Advocate before joining POC in 2012.
For over 23 years, Abe has been involved in the strategy, development, and delivery of complex, global enterprise-wide solutions involving people, process, and technology at IBM / NASA, Motorola / IRIDIUM, Trilogy Software, Microsoft, and Nordstrom. He is passionate about building and leading teams and leveraging data, platforms, and software services to build experiences that users love and deliver value to stakeholders. His focus at POC includes the delivery and support of a statewide solution to connect children & families, social workers, network administrators, funders, and service providers to improve the well-being of children in the State of Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Martha received her BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and completed both her MSW and MBA at the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the children’s mental health field for the past 13 years as a mental health case manager, crisis worker, diagnostician, outpatient therapist, clinical supervisor, mental health consultant, and instructor of clinical assessment and engagement. Through her position in Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, she created and developed new benefits for the state’s Medicaid plan to increase provider collaboration, mental health and permanency outcomes for children in foster care, and targeted services that focus on the needs of transition age youth. She is passionate that all children on Medicaid get access to high quality, effective, and culturally specific mental health services.
Kate provides administrative support to the POC Research Director and assists with basic office operations. Prior to joining POC, Kate worked as a Program Coordinator for 24 years at the University of Washington’s Experimental Education Unit, an early childhood development center and school for young children with and without developmental delays. At the EEU, Kate supported a program that focused on helping children of all abilities work and play together, as well as learn from and respect one another. Using best practices, the program trained generations of teachers and related service staff to provide excellent support for children in the classroom.
Jooree is an MSW student at the UW School of Social Work with a concentration in administration and policy practice. She is also pursuing an MPH at the UW School of Public Health in social and behavioral sciences. Jooree has previously interned at Children's Administration and has worked closely with social workers and children and families involved in the child welfare system. At POC, she assists in conducting program evaluations to enhance their practices.
Susan's work with POC involves evaluating programs and policies aimed at improving the lives of children and families in the child welfare system. She coordinates our child welfare systems research efforts and is involved in evaluating the feasibility of an evidence-based intervention to prevent risky behavior among child welfare-involved teens. At New England Research Institutes, where she worked as senior research scientist, Susan directed all research design and implementation activities of the NIAID-funded Statistical and Clinical Coordination Center for two longitudinal, national, multicenter studies of HIV in women. Susan earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University and a BA in psychology and biology from Antioch College. She completed a National Institute of Mental Health-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Family Violence at The Children's Hospital in Boston, MA where she also held a faculty appointment in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Currently, she serves on the King County Disproportionality Committee.
Since joining POC in 2009, Benjamin Berres has managed a broad range of initiatives, including Performance-Based Contracting and the Child Welfare Transformation Design Committee, the Child Well-Being Data Portal, Policy Development projects, and exploration of Social Impact Bonds. He is a member of the POC team focused on policy development.
Marie brings to POC her skills in enhancing operational processes. Previously, she worked at the UW School of Social Work's Administration and Finance office, where she provided fiscal and administrative support to faculty and staff. Marie earned her bachelor's degree in German language at Gonzaga University and holds an MPA from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.
Kathy's work at POC includes evaluating innovative practices, and bringing data, research, and evidence to the field to enhance child welfare practice and policy. Kathy brings to POC a strong background in program development and evaluation. She has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Boston University and a master's in social work from the University of Washington.
Laura is a design major at UW with a concentration in Visual Communication. Her background is in print, web, and application design with specific focus on branding and user experience problem solving. At POC, she primarily works in designing the branding system of the Open Source project, encompassing web and print curriculum assets.
Marissa has worked for the last fifteen years integrating policy, community organizing, and participatory research in her work. Her work has continually focused on integrating the voices of vulnerable communities into the research and policy arenas. Her previous projects include working with NGOs on the U.S./Mexico border, working with youth in immigrant communities, and doing policy and research work in various settings. Marissa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UT Austin and an MPA from the UW Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.
Erika works to strengthen POC's online presence by maintaining and improving the website. Prior to joining POC, she developed websites for nonprofit clients and worked on a variety of digital projects for academic researchers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German literature from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.
Jen provides administrative and operational support to the Executive Director and the POC Board. Her previous experience includes 10 years as a program coordinator with Community Engagement and the Northwest Institute for Children and Families at the UW School of Social Work, where she coordinated conferences and trainings around Washington state for Children’s Administration social workers, SSW faculty, foster parents, and community partners.
Maureen's focus is the well-being of vulnerable children and families, with an emphasis on the development and testing of intervention techniques within the child welfare system. She is testing parent engagement strategies and conducting research on mental health issues facing children. Maureen is the Charles O. Cressey Endowed Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, and holds a bachelor's and a master's in social work and a Ph.D. in social welfare from McGill University.
Jane received her BS in mathematics from the University of Missouri and her MS in mathematics from John Carroll University in Cleveland Ohio. After teaching mathematics at middle school, high school and university level, Jane transitioned to computer programming more than 15 years ago. She has vast experience within the computer field and specializes in database analysis. She worked with ACS Inc. on the Texas Medicaid contract for 8 years analyzing data and creating database solutions in support of decision making. After moving to Seattle, Jane worked an additional year in the healthcare field as a database developer prior to joining Partners for Our Children.
Joe is a doctoral student in the social welfare program at the UW School of Social Work. Prior to entering the doctoral program, he spent more than five years working with children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Joe's initial work at POC has focused on the analysis of data from a 2007 survey of Children's Administration social workers and their supervisors, specifically focusing on the manner in which organizational factors contribute to turnover intention. More recently, Joe has begun contributing to POC's ongoing analysis of permanency outcomes for Washington State and is also assisting in Children's Administration's efforts to redesign Washington's child welfare training curriculum.
Maureen conducts research and data analysis for POC. Maureen was a senior research coordinator at the University of Washington School of Social Work's Center for Women's Welfare, where she coordinated research for the self-sufficiency standard, a nationally recognized measure of a living wage. She has served as an instructor at the University of Oregon and as director of a variety of nonprofit agencies in the Pacific Northwest. Maureen has a bachelor's in criminal justice from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master's and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Oregon.
Erika leads the communications efforts for POC. She has experience across all communications disciplines and expertise in developing and implementing public awareness and behavior change campaigns. Prior to joining POC, Erika worked at GMMB, a full-service communications agency that focuses on creating social change. At GMMB, she worked with a variety of clients, including the Washington State Department of Health, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and the Group Health Foundation. Erika earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology from the University of Washington.
Erik supports work on the Washington State Child Well-Being Data Portal, as well as general research. Previously, Erik worked for Community Youth Services (CYS), where he worked in the Therapeutic Foster Care Services Program and a Crisis Residential Center (CRC) called Haven House. He has a bachelor's degree from the Evergreen State College (2007), an MSc in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics (2012) and recently finished a Certificate in Statistical Analysis with R Programming through the University of Washington. He will be starting the MPA program at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs this fall and plans to focus on Policy Analysis and Evaluation.
Laura works with Children's Administration and others to bring innovative workforce practice improvements to support family reunification. As part of this work, she assists Children's Administration in helping to measure the effectiveness of these interventions. Her previous evaluation experience includes work with the Sound Families Initiative at the Northwest Institute for Children and Families, an Initiative to help end homelessness among families with children. Early in her career, Laura worked for several Head Start Programs, providing family support and parenting services to low-income families with young children. Laura has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a master's in social work from the University of Washington.
Ben is a graduate student in the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program at the UW School of Social Work. Prior to entering the graduate program, Ben did education and community development work in the Moroccan Middle Atlas mountains as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Ben's work at POC is centered on exploring how child wellbeing is influenced by poverty before and during a child's stay in foster care. Ben is particularly interested in the development and implementation of prevention programs within the child welfare system that ameliorate risk and enhance protection for children and their families.
Gregor develops statistical models and new measurements to incorporate into the Child Well-Being Data Portal. Gregor also takes a lead role on some of POC's research analyses, and occasionally moonlights as an instructor for a program in Statistical Analysis and R Programming at the UW. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, and a master's degree from the Quantitative Ecology & Resource Management interdisciplinary program at the University of Washington. Between his degrees, Gregor taught math and physics in rural Tanzania as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Cheryl is an MSW candidate at the UW School of Social Work, specializing in Administration and Policy Practice. Previously, Cheryl worked at the National Kidney Foundation of the Delaware Valley in Philadelphia, where she lobbied for improved federal and state healthcare policies for people living with kidney disease, Medicare issues for the aging, and policies relating to organ transplantation. She also combined efforts with the City of Philadelphia's Faith-Based Initiatives and other government representatives, advocating for safer, healthier communities in Philadelphia.
Ryan works to develop database systems to facilitate the Data Portal team’s analysis and reporting activities. He is working on his Master of Science of Information Systems Management with Keller Graduate School of Management and holds a Bachelor of Science of Technical Management, specializing in database and software development. Ryan entered the IT field through activities in black box application testing and user acceptance testing and progressed into a database development role for business intelligence systems, which he had been performing for six years prior to joining Partners for Our Children.