2016 Casey Excellence for Children Awards
Casey Family Programs is pleased to announce the eight winners of the 2016 national Casey Excellence for Children Awards — five family and alumni honorees, and three leadership winners.
These awards recognize outstanding individuals and leaders who have demonstrated distinguished work, exceptional leadership and relentless dedication in improving child welfare in America. Award winners are selected from among a group of outstanding nominees in five categories: birth parents, alumni of foster care, foster or adoptive parents, kinship caregivers and child welfare leaders.
Learn more about the winners and their contributions below, and view videos of our family and alumni recipients.
Family and Alumni Award Winners
Makani and Brianna Kema-Kaleiwahea, Kailua, Hawaii
Maritza Lorenzana, Boise, Idaho
Tracy and Douglas Christensen, Lincoln, Nebraska
Foster and adoptive parents
Toni Miner, Arvada, Colorado
Corey Best, Holly Hill, Florida
Leadership Award Winners
Ann Silverberg Williamson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Executive Director, Utah Department of Children and Families
As executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services, Ann Silverberg Williamson is leading the effort to implement a comprehensive model of care to strengthen the experiences and outcomes for children, families and adults. The evidence-based model encourages individual voices in planning, assesses early risks and strengths, and leverages community partnerships for sustainable results. Under her administration, Utah operates a federal child welfare demonstration project that is reducing foster care placement, child abuse and neglect incidents and long-term social services intervention. Ms. Silverberg Williamson was selected as a 2015 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow to focus on economic security, educational success and health and well-being for low-income families. She previously served as president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations and formerly led the Louisiana Department of Social Services.
James M. Henry, State of Tennessee
Deputy to the Governor and Chief of Staff
Jim Henry is the deputy to the Tennessee governor and chief of staff. He was previously the commissioner for the Department of Children’s Services, and was the first leader of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Mr. Henry collaborates closely with stakeholders, including judges, local elected officials, foundations, business leaders and the faith community. His vision has resulted in a statewide effort to better address the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, a reduction in using congregate care, more timely permanency for children who need homes, and a contract to make Tennessee the first state to offer comprehensive services to help foster children who transition out of state custody. Mr. Henry chairs the Appalachian Child Welfare Leaders Workgroup, bringing together child welfare leaders in one of the country’s poorest regions to identify strategies to support families and children. He also served 12 years as a state representative, six of them as minority leader.
Judge Thomas Brittan Hammond, Georgia
Juvenile Court Judge, Toombs Judicial Circuit
Judge Britt Hammond serves as juvenile court judge of the Toombs Judicial Circuit in Georgia. Judge Hammond negotiated and developed the statewide cross-border Interstate Pact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) agreement between Alabama and Georgia. He led unprecedented engagement and collaboration between top-level child welfare and judicial leaders, policymakers and child welfare staff. In the two Alabama and Georgia counties that piloted the joint agreement, more than 70 children were housed safely with relatives across state borders, preventing entries into foster care. As a result of the agreement’s success, Judge Hammond is currently leading development of a similar agreement between Alabama and Tennessee. In addition to being a national expert in ICPC reform, Judge Hammond is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.