Jack P. Shonkoff
Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston; and Founding Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. View slides from Shonkoff's presentation: Leveraging Science to Strengthen the Foundations of Lifelong Learning, Behavior, and Health.
Bryan Samuels is the Commissioner of the Administration on Children,
Youth and Families. From 2003 to 2007, he was the director of the Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services. As director, he implemented
comprehensive assessments of all children entering care, redesigned
transitional and independent living programs, created a child location unit
to track all runaway youth, and introduced evidence-based services to
address the impact of trauma and exposure to violence on children
in state care.View slides from Samuels' presentation: Starting with the Science: The Role of Research in Developing Evidence-Based Policy.
Linda Gilkerson, Ph.D., Professor, Erikson Institute, directs the Irving B. Harris Infant Studies and Infant Mental Health Certificate Programs and s Executive Director of the Fussy Baby Network, a national model child abuse prevention program for infants under one year and their families. She is on the Board of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Parents and has served on the Illinois Interagency Council for Early ntervention. Her areas of interest include early development and the brain, infant/parent relationships, and reflective supervision. Her current research f ocuses on biological, developmental, and family correlates of infant crying. View slides from Gilkerson's presentation: Using Science, Clinical Experience, and Values to Inform Practice.
Erwin McEwen is Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. His commitment to protecting children by strengthening families has guided his visionary leadership of the since his appointment as director in 2006. McEwen has sought to refocus child welfare agency’s priorities on providing needed support to families well before their circumstances warrant removal for a child from the home.
Shannon Christian is Director of the Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, which is shaping and coordinating the work of the state’s Early Learning Council, and working across agencies to build an early childhood system that meets the needs of young children and their families. Ms. Christian’s previous work focused on the research, policy, and communications nexus needed to move research-based early childhood policy forward. Under President Bush, Shannon served as Associate Commissioner for the Child Care Bureau (now the Office of Child Care), managing the more than $5 billion federal child care subsidy program and spearheading major pieces of the Administration’s early learning initiative. In the 1990s, she was part of Wisconsin’s nationally renowned welfare reform team, first as Planning Director for Health and Social Services, and then as Senior Policy Advisor to the Labor Secretary. Previously, she worked for the US Dept. of Labor, Hudson Institute and others, where she worked on innovative issues including work-family, workforce development, economic support, and responsible fatherhood. Shannon participates in volunteer activities related to children’s healthy development, and as an elected member of the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Jamilah R. Jor'dan
Jamilah R. Jor'dan is an assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood-Primary/Bilingual Education at Chicago State University and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of early care and education. She is a senior consultant for Strengthening Families Illinois and was the president of the Partnership for Quality Child Care, former Mayor Daley's citywide early childhood initiative. She also served as vice president of the governing board for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Cynthia Tate is deputy director of the Division of Clinical Practice and Professional Development, Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. She has more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, administrator, educator and consultant. She co-founded a behavioral health managed care company and served on the faculty of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also was a consultant to the
Illinois Governor's Task Force on Human Service Reform and the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Karen Freel is vice president for research and evaluation at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to at-risk infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children. She is responsible for development and evaluation of the organization's Educare birth-to-five center in Chicago. She co-chairs the Early Childhood
Committee of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, which aims to develop a mental health system for young children and their families. She also co-chairs a committee of the Illinois Association of Infant Mental Health.
Ramona Randall is a single parent of six children whose family has been reunited for five of the six years she has been in recovery for drug addiction. At Haymarket Center, the largest comprehensive alcohol and drug treatment facility in northern Illinois, she works as an administrative assistant to the vice president of support services. As a parent leader for Strengthening Families Illinois, she brought the Parent Café Series to Haymarket to help empower birth parents. She is a senior at National Louis University, working toward a bachelor's degree in human services.
Judge Maxwell Griffin
Judge Maxwell Griffin has served in the child protection division of the Cook County Juvenile Court since 2003. He also serves as co-lead judge for the Chicago Model Court and is a member of the board of trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He is active with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services initiatives on permanency enhancement and disproportionate representation. He joined the bench after a 22-year career as an attorney during which time he was recognized as one of the top 20 tort defense lawyers in Chicago.