(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray named Brenda Donald as his pick to lead the District’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).
“Brenda Donald has vast experience in family services both inside and outside the District government,” said Mayor Gray. “The Child and Family Services Agency serves the District’s most vulnerable populations. Ms. Donald’s senior-management experience in the public and non-profit sectors and her focus on improving outcomes for children and their families are crucial for CFSA in the current economic environment.”
She most recently served as Vice President, Center for Effective Family Services and Systems for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this role, Donald led the foundation’s work of improving outcomes for children living in the country’s most difficult situations.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Donald served as Maryland’s Secretary of the Department of Human Resources. There, she was responsible for designing and implementing major systems reform. She previously served the D.C. government as Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families, and Elders and as the director of CFSA. She was selected in 1995 as one of the first fellows in the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellowship program.
“We will miss Brenda Donald's leadership at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, but see this as an important opportunity for her to improve outcomes and institute reforms in one of the most visible child welfare agencies in the country,” said Patrick McCarthy, President/CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “We appreciate the passion she brought to her role and look forward to supporting her work in the District of Columbia.”
As the Director of CFSA, Donald will focus on achieving positive outcomes for children in the District living in difficult situations. The agency is responsible for protecting the District’s child victims and those at risk of abuse and neglect as well as assisting their families. Along with community partners, CFSA works to ensure that children grow up in safe, permanent homes with strong families by investigating reports of abuse, working with families to help them overcome obstacles to keeping children safe, arranging and monitoring care for children who must be removed from dangerous situations and re-establishing permanent homes for children.
“I am very pleased that Mayor Gray has chosen a permanent Director for the Child and Family Services Agency,” said Judy Meltzer, the federal-court-appointed monitor for the LaShawn v. Gray law suit involving CFSA. “Brenda Donald is knowledgeable about the District, has a wide range of experience in this area and has demonstrated management skill and success in her work in the District, the State of Maryland and at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. I am looking forward to working with Director Donald, the Deputy Mayor and CFSA’s leadership team and dedicated workers to complete the work needed to achieve positive outcomes for the children and families served by CFSA and for the District’s eventual exit from the LaShawn v. Gray federal consent decree.”