UW School of Social Work E-news
June 2010  |  Return to issue home

Benjamin de Haan Heads Foster Care Partnership

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Benjamin de Haan, Ph.D., is the new executive director for Partners for Our Children, the public-private partnership launched in 2007 to improve the lives of children in foster care in Washington state. Ben has over 30 years of combined experience in academia, philanthropy and as director of several state agencies. He directed child welfare services for the state of Oregon, and served there in a variety of leadership positions for nearly 20 years. Most recently, he was managing director of Casey Family Programs’ State Strategy Division. Before joining Casey, Ben was an associate professor at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.

Ben’s research interests include the interaction of the child welfare and criminal justice systems. He has just completed a book chapter on this topic that will be published this summer by the Urban Institute Press. He is currently writing a paper on children of incarcerated parents based on recent research in Oregon’s corrections system.

Ben succeeds Mark Courtney, who—after serving as executive director for Partners for Our Children for its initial two and a half years—stepped down in October to become research director.

Partners for Our Children is a collaborative effort of the UW School of Social Work, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and private funders to improve the lives of children in our state’s child welfare system. This partnership is at the heart of what make Partners for Our Children successful, so Ben’s strong track record of leadership and partnering was an important factor in the board’s decision to ask him to join this organization.

Partners for Our Children has swiftly come to the fore of the national discussion about child welfare. A recent long-term study of 700 children coordinated by Partners for Our Children about "aging out" of foster care received local and national media coverage:

June 2010  |  Return to issue home