APHSA Awards

Each year at its Policy Forum, which is the organization’s premier annual gathering of state and local agency leaders, affiliate leaders, federal partners, nonprofit partners and other health and human service stakeholders, APHSA presents awards to outstanding leaders in the public human service field. These awards are presented to those who have shown significant achievement and excellence in their work and have left professional and personal legacies in the human service community. The awards are offered in three categories: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Outstanding Member Awards for both the state and local leadership and the Academic Achievement Award. Nominations for these awards are made by persons who are familiar with the individual’s or institution’s work.

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Lifetime Achievement Award Winners


Outstanding Member Award Winners


Academic Excellence Award Winners


Distinguished Service Award Winners 




These biographies were written at the time in which the award was presented. Not all information is current.


Lifetime Achievement Award Winners



Robert G4


Robert G. Stauffer

Director, Deloitte Services LP and Health and Human Service Business Development


For over 37 years, Robert G. Stauffer has had a lasting impact on the Health and Human Services in the public and private arena.  Prior to joining the private sector Bob’s career includes 28 years with the federal government and sixteen of those years were with the Department of Health and Human Services giving him firsthand knowledge about HHS programs/systems with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF - AFDC), Medicaid and Food Stamp Eligibility Determination Systems, Medicaid Management Information Systems, Child Support Enforcement Systems and Child Welfare Systems. Under his direction his division guided the states in the planning, development, and implementation of the new systems and performed on-going monitoring, evaluation and approval.  Mr. Stauffer was also instrumental in the initial development of the Child Care, Child Welfare, and EBT technology now employed by most states.


In 1992, Bob took an early retirement from DHHS and went to work for the private sector.  For seven years he worked for EDS where he expanded their marketing presence beyond just Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) and in 1999 joined Deloitte where he was able to expand their presence across the full spectrum of health and human services programs.  He retired from full time employment in 2012 to spend more time with his young daughters, but still performs valuable part time advisor services to the Deloitte team.


After Bob went to work in the private sector,  he worked diligently to bring the private and public human services sectors together to improve relationships and delivery systems.   This is perhaps where Bob made his most impactful contribution to the health and human services community. In the early nineties, there was no love lost between the private sector vendor community and state, local and federal government agencies which needed their services.  In fact this sometimes open animosity often hindered the successful development of new and better systems, which were sorely needed at the time to better deliver the benefits and services that the state and local agencies were charged to deliver and the federal agencies were paying for.


Bob with a few others found the Information Technology Association of America Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group.  Bob Stauffer served as chair of HSITAG for the first 17 years of its existence. Under his leadership   HSITAG was able to accomplish what it had set out to do.  HSITAG had its 20th anniversary in 2013 and can now proudly point to it being a trusted advisor to the federal agencies, most of the states and numerous associations such as the NGA, NASCIO, ISM and APHSA





David Berns

Director – Washington, D.C. Department of Human Services

Over his career Director Berns has left his mark on state and local agencies across the country. “As former Director of the Department of Human Services, I was looking for the absolute best leader I could find to lead an agency with which I have a personal connection and commitment – and I could not have chosen better than David Berns,” said District of Columbia Mayor at the time of this award, Vincent C. Gray. Tracy Wareing, APHSA’s Executive Director at the time, said that Berns “is a true inspirational leader and well deserving of the 2013 APHSA Lifetime Achievement Award. He has dedicated his life to public sector service, always keeping children and families at the center of his work. He is a humble, dedicated, passionate leader whose contributions have spread far beyond the agencies he has led. The national human services community is stronger because of his willingness to share his experiences and insights. We are honored to present Director Berns with this award.” David Berns served many years in a broad range of roles in public human service agencies in Arizona, Colorado, and Michigan. Long before service integration and public/private partnership became a standard motif, Bern’s work showed the impact of these methods. While in Colorado he worked to integrate child welfare and public assistance systems around the vision of eliminating poverty and family violence. The system established in El Paso County, Colorado is cited as one of the premier models for effective, family-centered and community-integrated approaches. During his tenure in Michigan, through a partnership between the public and private systems, he more than doubled annual state adoptions. Just prior to his appointment to his current position by Mayor Vincent Gray in April 2011, Berns served as the Executive Vice President of Casey Family Programs providing strategic direction to the foundation’s field offices in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Washington; and its Indian Child Welfare office in Colorado. 





Howard Hendrick

Former Director - Oklahoma Department of Human Services

“For more than a quarter of a century Howard Hendrick has served the people of Oklahoma directly while serving the whole nation as well through his work on the improvement of human services,” said APHSA Executive Director at the time, Tracy Wareing. “We thank him for all his contributions and we value his stewardship and his legacy.” When Hendrick retired in April, ending 13 years at the helm of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), his tenure in the same state was longer than any human service director presently serving in that capacity in the country. Hendrick became the DHS director in 1998. In the ensuing years, he led a staff of nearly 8,000 employees, managed budgets totaling nearly $2 billion and administered more than 40 state and federal human service programs throughout Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Hendrick also served as Cabinet Secretary for Human Services for Democratic Governor Brad Henry and served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services for former Republican Governor Frank Keating. Prior to joining DHS, Hendrick served 12 years as a member of the Oklahoma State Senate. For many years, he served as the Senate representative to the Oklahoma State Pension Commission and as the legislative representative to SoonerStart, the Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Childhood Intervention. In addition to his work in Oklahoma, Hendrick has been involved throughout his career at the national level, serving as APHSA president in 2009 and 2010 and as an APHSA board member from June 2004 until his retirement. He has served on several other national committees for legislative and human service organizations, sharing state-level solutions to the provision of health care and to local poverty. In addition he served on the boards of the National Children’s Alliance and the Nazarene Theological Seminary and on the Executive Committee for the National Council of State Human Services. In 2004, he was selected as one of four Americans to receive the National Public Service Award for leadership in public administration, presented jointly by the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration. In 2003 the Oklahoma Institute of Child Advocacy named him to the Child Advocates Hall of Fame. Prior to serving in the Oklahoma Senate, Hendrick practiced business, real estate, and tax law. He earned his MBA and JD from the University of Oklahoma.



Karen L. Beye

Executive Director - Colorado Department of Human Services

“Throughout her career, Karen never forgot what she was there to do. You could always count on her to stay focused on the children, adults and families at the other end of the long arm of state bureaucracy,” said APHSA Executive Director at the time, Tracy Wareing. Beye served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) from 2007 to January 2011 in the Cabinet of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. As executive director of CDHS, Beye was responsible for a $2 billion+ budget and nearly 6,000 employees. Her responsibilities included the oversight of Colorado’s 64 county departments of human services, public assistance programs, child welfare, early childhood development and adult protectionAs executive director, Beye developed relationships with advocacy organizations and led multiple initiatives in cross-system/cross-agency integration such as the Governor’s Behavioral Health Cabinet. During her tenure, she implemented several improvements to the child welfare system including creation of a child welfare training academy, a statewide child protection omnibus program and Differential Response pilot programs. Beye began her career in the Jefferson County Department of Social Services. From there, she worked for several years at the Colorado Department of Social Services in a variety of roles. In 1993, Gov. Roy Romer appointed Beye to his Cabinet as the department’s executive director. In 1994, Beye served as the managing director of the newly created Colorado Department of Human Services directing programs such as child welfare, child care, self-sufficiency, aging, mental health, juvenile corrections and information systems development under Colorado's governmental restructuring effort of the state Departments of Social Services, Institutions, Public Health and Medicaid. Beye accepted a new position in 1999 with the newly created City and County of Broomfield—the first new county created in Colorado since the early 1900s. She was instrumental in developing a new local government, including the creation of an integrated human service agency. During her career of public service, Beye has participated on multiple boards and committees both in her county and at the state level. Beye has been an active member of APHSA and has served in many capacities in the organization. She led the development of a national child care committee during the welfare reform initiative and most recently served on the APHSA Policy Council.



Jerry Friedman

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Global Human Service Group – Accenture

Friedman was named APHSA executive director in September 2001 after a 31-year career in public human

services at the state and local levels. He was the executive deputy commissioner of the Texas Department of Human Services where he oversaw operations of a 15,000-person workforce providing services to 2 million Texans in 500 state offices. Prior to that, he served as assistant secretary of the Economic Services Administration at the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Before that, Friedman held leadership positions at several state agencies in Pennsylvania and was director of Human Services for Dauphin and Northampton Counties in that state. He began his public service career as a probation and parole officer in 1970. Howard Hendrick, director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and president of the APHSA Board of Directors at the time of this award, nominated Friedman for the award and said Friedman’s “knowledge of state and local government work and his ability to build bridges with people from all kinds of backgrounds were a tremendous asset to the organization.” Cari DeSantis, interim executive director at APHSA at the time and a past president of the Board of Directors, said, “Under Jerry’s leadership, APHSA has matured both in terms of internal infrastructure and in enhanced stature on the federal political front.”



Gary Stangler

Executive Director - Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative

Stangler is a former member of APHSA’s Board of Directors, serving several terms, including two as an at-large member. He served for 11 years as director of the Missouri Department of Human Services. He has testified in Congress on numerous occasions and has worked tirelessly on behalf of children in foster care. He is the co-author of On Their Own, a book about the foster care system. He also serves on the boards of The Finance Project and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and is a fellow with the Center for Family and Policy Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has received numerous awards, including the Lewis Hine Award for service to children. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is a collaborative effort between Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to bring together the people, systems and resources necessary to help youth leaving foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. Jerry Friedman, executive director of APHSA at the time, said Stangler is “the acknowledged leader who raised the consciousness of the country to the needs of foster children ‘aging out of the system. He is an inspiring leader who can address questions about key child welfare issues and how adults can help to change a lifetime for a young person in foster care.” 



Richard Nathan

Co-Director - Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany (The public policy research arm of the State University of New York)

Before joining the center in 1989, Nathan was a professor at Princeton University and a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. His government service includes directing domestic policy research for the National Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) and the national campaigns of Nelson A. Rockefeller.

He was assistant director for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and deputy undersecretary for welfare reform of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Jerry Friedman, executive director of APHSA at the time, said Nathan had been a lifelong and dedicated member of APHSA. “Dick has distinguished himself in the world of social policy. I have always been impressed by his insight on social and welfare policies and his skill and experience he gained through his years working with the federal government. He has provided APHSA leadership with invaluable insight and guidance.” Nathan got his doctorate from Harvard in political economy and government. He also received a master’s in public administration from Harvard, and his bachelor’s in sociology and demography from Brown University. His books include Implementing the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996: A First Look, Turning Promises Into Performance, The Administrative Presidency, Reagan and the States, Social Science in Government, and Regionalism and Realism: A Study of Governments in the New York Metropolitan Area.



Kevin Concannon

Director - Iowa Department of Human Services

In 2007, Concannon had been director of the Iowa department since March 2003. Before that, he served as the Maine Department of Human Services Commissioner and director of the Oregon Department of Human Services. And before that, he was commissioner of the Maine Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He taught as an adjunct professor of social work at Portland State University, University of Connecticut and the University of Iowa.

He served as president of the American Public Welfare Association, APHSA’s predecessor, and as president of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. He is a former member of the APHSA Board of Directors and a member of the Advisory Board for APHSA’s magazine, Policy & Practice. Jerry Friedman, executive director of APHSA at the time, said Concannon is instrumental in reforming the public welfare systems of the states of Maine and Oregon and implemented major mental health and developmental disabilities service system reforms in Maine and Oregon and recently, in Iowa.  “He was responsible for increasing access to medical care through state insurance programs in Oregon, Maine and Iowa as well as expanding the choices and supports in long-term care for elderly and disabled people,” Friedman said. “Kevin is so good at what he does that even with a change in gubernatorial administration, the new governor chose to keep him, something that is rarely heard of in state government politics.” 



Barbara B. Blum

Senior Advisor - National Center for Children in Poverty

Barbara B. Blum directed NCCP's Research Forum on Children, Families, and the New Federalism from 1997 through 2005. In 2006, she served as an advisor to the Center. She served as president of the Foundation for Child Development from 1986-1996 and as the president of Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation from 1982-1986. Ms. Blum also served as president of APHSA’s predecessor, the American Public Welfare Association. As Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services from 1977-1982, she directed the public assistance, Medicaid, and social services programs. During her tenure, she was responsible for the development of community work experience programs, the creation of alternative services to prevent nursing home care, and the implementation of the first large-scale management information systems for welfare, Medicaid and social services. Additionally, she directed the implementation of the New York State Child Welfare Reform Act of 1979, which mandated systemic shifts away from foster care placement and toward the provision of family support services. Her appointment as commissioner followed more than a decade of service to New York State in the areas of mental health, mental retardation and social services.



Ruth Massinga

President and Chief Executive Officer - Casey Family Programs

Massinga was the first Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Massinga led Seattle-based Casey Family Programs starting in 1989. The national foundation works to provide and improve the state of foster care. During her distinguished career, Massinga also served as deputy director of the Child Development Associate Consortium in Washington, D.C., and as director of Berkeley Children’s Services. She earned a master’s degree in social services from Boston University. “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by my peers for my work in human services, especially as APHSA celebrates its 75th anniversary,” said Massinga. “I have been fortunate to have had leadership opportunities in both the public and private sectors and to now work for Casey Family Programs. I look forward to continuing to work with APHSA to improve the odds for success for some of the most vulnerable children and families in our country.” Jerry Friedman, executive director at APHSA at the time, who has known Massinga for nearly two decades since she served as secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources, called her “a noble force in human services.” “Throughout her distinguished career, she has demonstrated compassion, innovation and excellence in management and leadership,” Friedman said. “She has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues in human services and was previously selected by her peers to serve as president of APHSA.”

Outstanding Member Award Winners



2014, State

Doug Racine

Secretary for the Vermont Agency of Human Services.


Doug leads Vermont’s largest state agency, with an annual budget of $2.9 billion and over 3,100 employees throughout the state. Yet when APHSA calls on him for assistance, Doug responds. He truly is a strong advocate and ambassador for APHSA and those we serve.


Elected in 2013, Doug servers as North East Regional Representative of APHSA’s Policy Council Executive Committee. He was a speaker at the 2013 Policy Forum addressing ways to bring Government into the 21st Century and participated in the Harvard Summit for two years.


In his home state, Doug was elected to represent Chittenden County in the Vermont Senate in 1982, service five consecutive terms through 1992.  He was a member of the committees on Health and Welfare, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Rules, and served as chair of the Committee on Natural Resources from 1987 to 1988.  He was President pro tempore of the Vermont Senate from 1989 to 1992.  Doug was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1996 and served in that position until 2002.  Doug returned to the Senate in 2007, again representing Chittenden County.  He served two more terms, serving as the chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, a member of the Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, and as co-chair of the Vermont Child Poverty Council.  Doug graduated from Princeton in 1974 with an AB in Politics.


2014, Local

Paul Fleissner,  Director

Olmsted County,  Minnesota  Community Services


Paul has provided steadfast sponsorship to this association and leadership both nationally and within his state and county during difficult times.Paul is serving his second year as the chair of the APHSA Local council.  In this role, he has brought life to the local council and advanced the mission of APHSA. Paul’s a tireless promoter of APHSA’s value from the national level to direct practice in the community.


As the locals chair, Paul has assured relevant issues are brought forward to be addressed at the national level. Agencies have pointed to him and the leadership of the Council as the reason they have become members of APHSA.   He has attend and presented at the APHSA policy forum and the Harvard Summit. Paul approaches challenges with solutions and issues beyond the confines of county government.  He works consistently at all levels of government to explore better and innovative ways to provide services to meet individual and community needs more effectively. He has developed public and private partnership.  For example, recently ,  he worked closely with United Way and the Rochester Area foundation to coordinate  a half day seminar for nonprofits in the region to coordinate a half day seminar for nonprofits in the region around the "Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofits.” Within the state of Minnesota, he has earned a reputation as an articulate champion of health and human services For many years he has been actively engaged with the Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators, serving as its past president, co-chair of its legislative committee and currently as co chair of Policy committee.


To get people to follow, you have to lead. Paul is an advocate who supports and exemplifies forward thinking, risk taking and a healthy dose of groundedness. He consistently promotes integration across organizational boundaries creating synergies within community groups. He has credibility, is system savvy and is not afraid to challenge the status quo.   Paul epitomizes the term “servant leader”. When issues around homelessness emerged in a community that tended to believe it could not happen there, he took off his suit and tie, dressed in jeans, and  went out with his outreach staff  and experienced firsthand the actual homeless camps individuals where living in. Paul personally provided tenacious passion and leadership. He helped people acknowledge a not so pretty side of their community’s reality and led the community and county toward the development of a sober housing project.  





2013 State

Lillian B. Koller

Director - South Carolina Department of Social Services

In 2013, Koller was providing steadfast sponsorship and leadership to APHSA by serving on its Policy Council Executive Committee (PCEC) and consistently supporting APHSA initiatives. Director Koller provided invaluable insight on how to approach a transformative agenda, building on what works and discarding what does not.  Her review and input into documents prior to publication conveys an articulate and critical voice ensuring clarity and alignment for practical application.  Koller has successfully led transformation efforts in Hawaii and in South Carolina. Koller was nominated by APHSA Director of Legislative Affairs, Ron Smith.  In nominating her, Smith said he most appreciated Koller’s unyielding desire to improve the delivery of human services without having to ask for more money to do so.  “She understands that delivering better quality human services does not require spending additional money to do more of the same, but instead that with insight and ingenuity, a new matrix can provide better supports to more people.”


2013 Local

Uma S. Ahluwalia

Director of Montgomery County - Maryland Department of Health and Human Services

In 2013, Ahluwalia was serving as treasurer and member of APHSA’s governing board and policy council. In this capacity, she helped set the strategic direction of the Association. She also has served as local representative for the Northeast Region on the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) executive committee. She participated on, led and chaired numerous workgroups. Examples of her work supporting APHSA include her participation with the National Workgroup on Integration; her leadership in our work with HHS on confidentiality and privacy issues as we look to streamline sharing information and making systems interoperable; and her contributions to the Pathways initiative. She truly is a strong advocate and ambassador for APHSA and those served by public human service organizations. Tracy Wareing, APHSA Executive Director at the time, said, “Director Ahluwalia is one of those people to whom everyone goes for advice. She has an incredible understanding of such a wide range of issues that it allows her to see the larger picture that eludes so many people. She serves on APHSA’s Board of Directors and provides tremendous insight into how some of the policy issues before the association are felt on the front lines where benefits are delivered.”


2012 State

Erin Sullivan Sutton

Assistant Commissioner for Children and Family Services - Minnesota Department of Human Services

Sutton provided steadfast sponsorship to the association and leadership both nationally and within her state. Sullivan Sutton served as the president of the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) from 2008 to 2011 and testified twice before Congress on child welfare issues. She has served as chair of several committees critical to NAPCWA’s effectiveness and impact, including leadership of NAPCWA’s child welfare finance reform committee. Prior to appointment to her position as Assistant Commissioner for Children and Family Services in 2011, Sullivan Sutton was director of Child Safety and Permanency. She has served on numerous boards and task forces, including the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee to Amend Juvenile Court Rules, the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Open Hearings and the Advisory Committee of the Minnesota School of Social Work. “Over the past 25 years, Erin has earned a reputation both within her state and nationally as an articulate champion of children’s issues,” said Tracy Wareing, APHSA executive director at the time. An attorney, social worker, and instructor, she holds BA degrees in Social Work and Psychology from the College of St. Therese in Winona, Minnesota, and a JD from William Mitchell College of Law.


2012 Local

Elliott Robinson

Director of Social and Employment Services - Monterey County, California

Robinson is a long standing member of APHSA, having served most recently as a member of APHSA’s governing Board of Directors and as past chair of APHSA’s National Council of Local Human Service Administrators. In 2012, Robinson was serving as vice chair of the First Five Monterey County Commission and vice chair of the Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone Advisory Board. He has served on the Bay Area Social Services Consortium, the Monterey County Children’s Council, Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Workforce Investment Board, the Monterey County United Way and the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace. At the state level, Robinson is immediate past president of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), and a past chair of its Information Technology Committee, Legislative Committee, and Fiscal Committee. He is also a past member of the board of directors for the Children and Families Policy Institute of California (CFPIC), and past chair of the state’s Interim Statewide Automated Welfare System Consortium. “Elliott has been a steadfast advocate for the value of human services at the county and municipal level,” said Tracy Wareing, APHSA executive director at the time. Robinson received his BA from Stanford University and his MSW from University of California, Berkeley.



Bruce Goldberg

Director - Oregon Health Authority

In 2011, Goldberg was serving as the chair of APHSA’s Policy Council, a body made up of the state health and human service commissioners from each state and the District of Columbia. The council sets the positions taken by the association relative to national public human service policy. “One of the clearest ways we have seen Bruce’s influence is in his insistence on connecting programs across silos to benefit the needs of the people we serve, and not on the needs of the programs themselves,” said Tracy Wareing, APHSA executive director at the time. Wareing noted Goldberg’s leadership in calling for improvements to coordinate Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to support and provide incentives through food assistance for healthy eating. Goldberg was appointed director of the Oregon Health Authority by Gov. John Kitzhaber in February 2011. Prior to that appointment he had served as director of the Oregon Department of Human Services since November 2005. He was instrumental in developing plans for revamping the state’s mental health system and constructing two new state psychiatric hospitals. Goldberg has also served as head of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research; medical director for CareOregon; health officer for Columbia County, OR; and as director of Community Health Services in Zuni, NM. Goldberg is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and completed his family medicine training at Duke University.



Russell Sykes

Deputy Commissioner in the Division of Employment and Transitional Supports - New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Sykes has been involved in APHSA in many ways, serving as the president of APHSA’s affiliate, the National Association of State TANF Administrators (NASTA), a member of the APHSA Board of Directors and chair of the APHSA Affiliate Presidents’ Council. Sykes was appointed deputy commissioner of the Division of Employment and Transitional Supports in September 2004. He oversaw the TANF, Welfare to Work, Food Stamp, HEP, SSI State Supplement, EBT, and Transitional Benefit programs. He also directed the CEES Special Projects Bureau. For three decades prior to this appointment, Sykes held various senior staff positions at the federal, state and local levels and in the not-for-profit world, focused on policy development, public education, lobbying and media work related to welfare, child support, low-income tax policy, food assistance programs and child care. Sykes authored and co-authored numerous policy reports, including several collaborations with the OTDA, during his time outside government. He was instrumental in enacting and expanding the State Earned Income Tax Credit in the period 1994-2000. He has also authored numerous published opinion editorials and served on a number of governmental advisory boards.



John Cuddy

Former Chief Information Officer – Salem-Keizer School District

Cuddy, who served on APHSA’s Board of Directors twice as treasurer and as president of the association’s affiliate, IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM), retired as the chief information officer for the Salem-Keizer School District in Salem, Oregon. Among his many long and distinguished positions that he held were his positions as executive deputy secretary in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, chief executive officer in the Ohio Department of Human Services and eventually as the chief information officer of the Oregon Department of Human services, where he served with distinction before moving on to public education. “Professionals like John, who truly understand the whole picture, are the most effective of the human service leaders. John has served with extreme effectiveness as the treasurer of the APHSA Board of Directors,” said Jerry Friedman, APHSA executive director at the time. “He is one of the most dedicated individuals I have ever seen in human services. Throughout his career, he has been a staunch supporter of APHSA, and has worked diligently and effectively to promote the association and its mission.”



Karl Kurtz

Former Director - Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Kurtz is the ex-president of the American Public Human Services Association and was serving on the APHSA Board of Directors at the time of this award. Before joining the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in 1999, Kurtz was vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise. He had worked for Saint Alphonsus since September 1987. Before that, he worked in family business in Wyoming and spent 17 years with Ernst & Young in its Boise and Los Angeles offices. Kurtz earned an accounting degree from Utah State University. He also attended the Stanford Executive Program. He is a certified public accountant and was active in the Boise business community. In 2008, he was serving on the board of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, and is a member of Rotary. Since his departure from the Idaho department, he has been working as a consultant.  Jerry Friedman, executive director at APHSA at the time, said Kurtz is a “tireless, modest and committed individual who has guided and supported APHSA throughout his career.” “Karl has exceptional talents and skills in financial management and in being able to pull people together to work for causes. I have the greatest respect for Karl,” he said.



Walter Credle

Director - Hampton, VA Department of Social Services

Credle was a member of the APHSA Board of Directors twice, chair of the APHSA Local Council twice, a member of the Advisory Committee to APHSA’s magazine, Policy & Practice, and a member of the advisory group on name change and identity project. He participated in the association’s “Matter of Commitment” project on welfare reform in the 1980s. In nominating Credle for the award, Linda Wolf, acting deputy executive director of government and legislative affairs at APHSA at the time, said Credle not only is one of the longest-standing members of APHA, but he also has served the organization in many official capacities as well. In 2007, Credle had been director of Hampton’s social services for 17 years. Prior to that, he was director in Hopewell and assistant director in Virginia Beach. He rose through the ranks, starting as a caseworker in Portsmouth. Joe Galano, associate professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg at the time, who worked with Credle for years and with the city of Hampton, said Credle is one “tireless, modest and committed individual who is a great leader and who tends to pull people together. I have the greatest respect for Walter.” Galano particularly credited Credle with his work on the “Healthy Families Partnership,” which ensured that every child in Hampton is born healthy and enters school ready to learn. 



Mary Urzi

Director of Family Support Services - Wake County Human Services Department

Urzi became president of the National Staff Development and Training Association, an APHSA affiliate, in January 2000. She also served as chair of APHSA’s Affiliate Presidents’ Council until her retirement. Mary F. Urzi was the director of Family Support Services at the Wake County Department of Human Services in Chapel Hill, N.C. until her retirement. An expert on transfer of learning, Urzi was elected president of the National Staff Development and Training Association in January 2000. As president of NSDTA, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association, Urzi was the first chair of the APHSA's Affiliate Presidents' Council, and in this capacity served on the APHSA Board of Directors.



Robin Arnold-Williams

Policy Office Director - Washington Office of the Governor

Arnold-Williams served APHSA by working as a member on the Board of Directors. She was secretary of Washington state's Department of Social and Health Services until the end of 2008, when she became the new director of the Governor’s Executive Policy Office.  Arnold-Williams led Washington’s largest state agency—with nearly 20,000 employees and $9 billion budget — for almost four years. Before joining Gregoire’s Cabinet, Arnold-Williams spent eight years as executive director of the Utah State Department of Human Services, where she worked for 24 years. She served three years as chairwoman of the National Council of State Human Service Administrators and in that capacity, provided congressional testimony on human service policy issues. Arnold-Williams holds master’s and doctoral degrees in social work from the University of Utah, in addition to a graduate certificate in gerontology.

Academic Excellence Award Winners




2014 Winners


The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Colorado School of Medicine


Julie Krow, MA. LPC, Director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, Colorado Department of Human Services presented the Kempe Center award to Desmond Runyan, MD, DrPH, Jack and Viki Thompson Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Executive Director, The Kempe Center. When making the presentation, Ms. Krow spoke about the strong and growing relationship between the Kempe Center and the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and many county departments of human services across Colorado.  Ms. Krow discussed how the Kempe Center has become a key participant in the Colorado’s collaborative efforts to improve human services and help our most vulnerable citizens: children at risk for abuse or neglect. The Kempe Center opened in 1972 with one vision: to recognize that children were being abused, the threat was real, and do something about it. The Kempe Center is an academically rich environment with a strong publication record, a broad set of multidisciplinary courses in the medical school, the Colorado School of Public Health, the School of Social Work and the School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver.  The Kempe Center also has a presence internationally in Israel, Korea, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Kosovo. 


To learn more about the Kempe Center link to their website The Kempe Center.



Rutgers University School of Social Work


When presenting the award to Rutgers University School of Social Work (Rutgers), Jennifer Velz, Commission of New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) informed that her department actively relies upon the School for their contributions in multiple joint ventures because of its reliability, proven success, and unwavering standards. The partnership between NJDHS and Rutgers is essential to the services provided to New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens. She further noted that Rutgers is a stellar organization that is able to prepare students to positively contribute to the health and human services field.  Rutgers is an asset to DHS and its work, as it supports the State’s research and training needs for students and professionals alike.


William Waldman, lecturer (Professor) and Executive in Residence and Mia Sena, Director Office of Training and Education Programs accepted on behavior of the Rutgers University School of Social Work.


To learn more about Rutgers Human Service Partnership link to their their website.



The Center for State Child Welfare Data at Chapin Hall and the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration

In 2013, the Center stood out as the national leader in modeling the use of administrative data to inform child welfare practice. No serious child welfare conversation was taking place nationally that wasn't informed by a strategic use of data at the time. The Center was instrumental in making that happen. Through its Multistate Foster Care Data Archive and its subsequent partnership with APHSA to engage state participation, the Center was at the forefront of teaching the field of Social Work, the human services sector and federal and state legislative and policy makers how to use knowledge to inform action in the child welfare arena.  Data is an essential component of human services planning.  But, until data is put into context, it cannot be used used for cost-effective analysis.  Part of Chapin Hall’s service included in-depth training provided to child welfare leadership about data, its meaning, its proper use and its misuse.  Through targeted technical assistance, the Center used a return on investment framework to help agencies target their resources toward cost-efficient strategies for improving outcomes for the sustained well-being of child and youth building for stronger and healthier families, adults and communities. Fred Wulczyn, Director for the Center for State Child Welfare Data at Chapin Hall at the time, accepted the award on the center’s behalf.





The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Child Welfare Education and Research Programs

The school was selected for its Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program, which prepared and supported exceptional child welfare professionals and systems through education, research, and a commitment to best practice at the time of this award. “The University of Pittsburgh program does an excellent job developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including the state agencies, each of the 67 county child welfare agencies, and the communities and families they serve,” said APHSA Executive Director at the time, Tracy Wareing. In Fiscal Year 2010–11, the training Program provided training to 1,843 new caseworkers in order to meet certification requirements. The Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) Program provided substantial financial support for graduate-level social work education for current employees of public child welfare agencies. To meet the needs of training participants, training was provided on-site across the Commonwealth. An online curriculum was also being developed, a key innovation of which was a three-course certification series entitled Child Advocacy Studies (CAST). The overarching goal was to prepare practitioners to carry out the work of various agencies and child-serving systems as they advocated on behalf of children who have experienced maltreatment. In FY 2010–11 professionals from the Training Program documented more than 6,000 hours of support to counties, plus on-going onsite/offsite support, clarification, and products, all focused to promote effective service delivery, improve practice, and ensure positive outcomes for children and youth in the system. In partnership with the Office of Children, Youth and Families, training program professionals coordinated and led Quality Service Reviews in six counties. Research efforts aimed to improve the quality of practice and system functioning in Pennsylvania. Some key research conducted by the Training Program and University of Pittsburgh partners in fiscal year 2011 included: Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) fidelity evaluation, quality visitation and the use of mobile technology, developmental screening using the Ages & Stages Questionnaire, and evaluation of the in-home Safety Assessment and Management Process (SAMP). 



The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC)

CalSWEC, based at the University of California, Berkeley, was the nation’s largest state coalition of social work educators and practitioners at the time of this award. It was a consortium of the state’s 20 accredited social work graduate schools, the 58 California county departments of Social Services and Mental Health, the California Department of Social Services, and the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. In 2011, CalSWEC was collaborative, which is vital not only in learning about human services, but also in administering and providing services in today’s tight budget environment, said Tracy Wareing, APHSA executive director at the time, who presented the award.  CalSWEC facilitated the integration of education and practice to assure enhanced learning for the students and effective service delivery to the people of California. For the 2009–10 academic year, CalSWEC provided support to more than 800 students in the state’s accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs. The MSW program followed a specialized child welfare curriculum designed to increase the number of professionally trained social workers in the public child welfare workforce. The BSW program offered a child welfare concentration in the senior undergraduate year and prepares graduates to work in entry-level child welfare positions. Students committed to a number of years of employment equivalent to the number of years for which they receive federal aid. A study showed that 82 percent of graduates stayed in public child welfare after completing their commitment. Receiving the award on behalf of CalSWEC was John B. Cullen, executive director of CalSWEC at the time and former county administrative officer for Contra Costa County, CA.



The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare

According to Reggie Bicha, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families at the time, who nominated the school for the award, the institution’s academically rich and rigorous curriculum prepared more than one in five case managers, supervisors and administrators in his department’s Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. Because of the school, BMCW, the largest public child welfare agency in Wisconsin at the time, had been able to recruit highly qualified caseworkers and improve practice and reduce staff turnover, he added. Bicha credited the school with excellence in training and professional development, foster/adoptive parent training and quality assurance. “The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare has exemplified an outstanding academic/state agency partnership, working to improve the lives of children and families in our state.” The school’s faculty in 1997 created the Child Welfare Training Program to provide current and future child welfare workers the opportunity to complete an MSW degree, with a specialization in public child welfare.



The Middle Tennessee State University

In 2009, the university was a strong collaborative partner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Since August 2004, MTSU assumed the lead responsibility of a multimillion-dollar training grant awarded by the DCS. The university housed two programs that have had a significant impact on the public child welfare reform effort in Tennessee. The first is the Department of Social Work, which served as one of key catalysts for the creation of the Tennessee Work Education Consortium, the first consortium of its kind in Tennessee. TSWEC comprised 14 public and private universities that offered an accredited baccalaureate social work degree. The second MTSU program is the Tennessee Center for Child Welfare, which began its work in 2004 as the DCS child welfare training operations base. TCCW subcontracted with TSWEC members for the implementation of regional learning centers that provided professional training programs for DCS staff in the states’ 13 regions. In addition, the center pioneered a corps of MSW supervisory specialists who work as consultants and coaches to support direct-service supervisors across the state. Also, the center established the Tennessee Child Welfare Learning Collaborative—a partnership of TCCW, the consortium, DCS, and private provider staff— in developing a statewide training system that promoted practice excellence. “The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has made great strides to reform public child welfare,” said Viola Miller, commissioner of the department at the time, who nominated the university for the award. “Without the strong support of MTSU, we could not have achieved so much so quickly.”



The University of Washington School of Social Work

Robin Arnold-Williams, secretary of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services at the time, who nominated the school, said the institution had been a valuable partner and leader of the Partners for Our Children, public-private collaboration between the department and the private sector committed to making positive changes for children in the child welfare program. “As APHSA continues to celebrate and applaud excellence in human services, we are recognizing individuals and organizations for their contributions to human services and in service to children, adults, families, and communities throughout the country,” said Jerry Friedman, executive director at APHSA at the time.  “Colleges and universities can be important partners in efforts to serve clients and improve outcomes for vulnerable children, adults and families in the communities. The school has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in human services,” Friedman said.



The University of Delaware’s School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy

In 2007, the school had developed a cutting-edge approach to public affairs education by integrating academic excellence with professional practice into its core curriculum. In what is known as the “Delaware Model,” an educational paradigm that combines theory and practice, graduate students enrolled in the school’s master program are not limited to research and study. The student’s assistantship placement (paid for through grants and contract agreements) was located on campus or offsite and was focused on an assigned project that contributes to the mission of the agency and policy issues facing the state. They gained skills and knowledge beyond the classroom while government and nonprofit human service agencies benefited as well. In nominating the school for the award, Vincent Meconi, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services at the time, said the school had produced many top graduates at national, state, and local levels of government as well as the nonprofit sector. The school has been a major leader in the social welfare and health policy arena in the region. “One of the greatest needs that I have found in my department, Delaware Health and Social Services, is the need for managers who can be flexible and creative in the face of today’s climate of ever increasing resource and personnel challenges,” Meconi says. “It’s a need that I have found that fellow APHSA CEOs recognize as well. It is in this area that the University’s School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy excels. Over the past quarter century, SUAPP has become the training ground for managers not just in my department, but all through Delaware State government.” Maria Aristigueta, the school’s director and professor of public administration at the time, and Ed Freel, policy scientist from the Institute of Public Administration at the time, accepted the award on behalf of the school.



The Arizona State University School of Social Work in Tempe and the Department of Social Work at the West campus (along with Northern Arizona University’s Department of Sociology and Social Work)

 “I congratulate our faculty, staff and students here on the Tempe campus and in Tucson for the commitment to excellence that inspired David Berns to nominate the school for this prestigious award," says Mary Gillmore, director of the ASU School of Social Work on the Tempe campus at the time. "We share this award with our nearly 6,000 alumni worldwide who are our ambassadors in social work practice and advocacy for social justice. The donors, community partners and external funders who support our research and scholarship are also gratefully acknowledged.” ASU and NAU were nominated by Berns, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) at the time. Recipients were selected by a panel representing APHSA’s board of directors, staff, agency executives and human service practitioners. Berns wrote in his nomination letter: “Since the early 1990s, DES and ASU have been collaborating to grow a professional and experienced work force, particularly in the area of child welfare. Specialized child protective services education units are offered for undergraduate and graduate students, and financial support is available for those who agree to work at DES after graduation. This partnership has helped us address retention issues, since 45 percent of the former students are still employed at DES.” John Hepburn, dean of the College of Human Services at the West campus at the time, said, “The department of Social Work is pleased to receive such a prestigious honor by the American Public Human Services Association. We are indebted to all of our constituents, who have added to the department’s outstanding presence. I would also like to acknowledge all the faculty and students over the years who have contributed so much to our success.” The academic excellence award also recognized the advanced educational opportunities offered for existing child welfare staff to pursue a master’s degree in social work, covering the cost of books and 80 percent of salary during the educational leave. The employee was expected to remain at DES a minimum of one year after degree completion. This program offered supervisors advanced education in social work and encouraged staff members in rural areas who work with underserved populations to continue their education. Christina Risley-Curtiss, associate professor of social work at the ASU School of Social Work on the Tempe campus at the time, accepted the award.

Distinguished Service Award Winners




Ramona Foley

Child Welfare Consultant – MSW

In 2008, Foley was a consultant in the area of child welfare. Prior to her January 2008 retirement, she was Assistant Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services. She directed the Division known as Children, Adults and Families which includes child welfare, self-sufficiency, food stamps, and vocational rehabilitation. Prior to her appointment in Oregon, Ramona served as the Director of Child Welfare and Family Preservation in South Carolina’s Department of Social Services. With a Masters in Social Work and more than thirty years of experience in social services, Ramona has been active in child welfare at the national level for the past two decades. She is past president of three national organizations: Foster Care Managers; Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children; and the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. During her career in South Carolina, she was also Adjunct Faculty at the University of South Carolina’s Graduate School of Social Work, teaching in the graduate program for her last ten years there.



Mack A. Storrs

Senior Policy Advisor - Administration for Children and Families/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In March 2006, Mack Storrs retired after 30 years of service to the Administration for Children and Families. Storrs was APHSA's principal contact on AFDC and TANF regulations. Prior to his retirement, Storrs was Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Family Assistance. Storrs served as Director of the Division of Self-Sufficiency, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He has also served as special assistant to the Director and Acting Director of the Office of Family Assistance, which was responsible for Federal administration of Aids to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and JOBS programs. Mr. Storrs previously served in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget of HHS, where he was director of a congressionally mandated study of the AFDC and Medicaid quality control programs. He also served as a management analyst for payment integrity projects in the Executive Office of Management and Budget Mr. Storrs served in the U.S. Army and the Peace Corps and studied at the Graduate School of the University of Arizona. He has a bachelor's degree in government from Utah State University.



Ron Haskins

Senior Fellow, Economic Studies/Co-Director - Center on Children and Families Brookings Institution

In 2006, Haskins was a senior fellow in the Economic Studies program and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution and senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. From February to December of 2002 he was the senior advisor to the president for welfare policy at the White House. Prior to joining Brookings and Casey, he spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, first as welfare counsel to the Republican staff, then as the subcommittee’s staff director. From 1981-1985, he was a senior researcher at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He also taught and lectured on history and education at UNC, Charlotte and developmental psychology at Duke University. Haskins was the editor of the 1996, 1998, and 2000 editions of the Green Book, a 1600-page compendium of the nation’s social programs published by the House Ways and Means Committee that analyzes domestic policy issues including health care, poverty and unemployment. Haskins is a senior editor of The Future of Children, a journal on policy issues that affect children and families. He has also co-edited several books, including Welfare Reform and Beyond: The Future of the Safety Net (2002), The New World of Welfare (2001) and Policies for America’s Public Schools: Teachers, Equity, and Indicators (Ablex, 1988), and is a contributor to numerous books and scholarly journals on children’s development and social policy issues. He is also the author of Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law (2006) and the co-author of Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America (Pew, 2008). He has appeared frequently on radio and television and has written articles and editorials for several newspapers and periodicals including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Policy Review, State Government News, American Enterprise, National Review, and the Weekly Standard. His areas of expertise include welfare reform, child care, child support enforcement, family composition and marriage, and child protection. In 1997, Haskins was selected by the National Journal as one of the 100 most influential people in the federal government. In 2000, Haskins received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement; and in 2005 he received the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Human Services from the American Public Human Services Association. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Master’s in Education, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, from UNC, Chapel Hill. 



Barry L. Van Lare

Director, Office of Management Consulting and Training - National Governors Association

In 2005, Van Lare was serving as NGA's primary liaison to governors' chiefs of staff, assisting governors in leading and managing state government. He provided on-site consulting as well as printed and electronic information. He organized an annual series of seminars for governors' office staff -- and spouses -- on best practices and duties. He also coordinated and managed the NGA biennial Seminar for New Governors. Van Lare joined NGA in 2006. Earlier, he directed the Center for Public Strategies at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research; was senior vice president of Workforce Services, MAXIMUS; was executive director of the Welfare Information Network, The Finance Project; and served as deputy executive director, NGA; and associate commissioner for Social Security, Office of Family Assistance.



Don Winstead

Special Advisor to the Governor for the Implementation of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

In March 2009, Governor Charlie Crist called on Don Winstead to serve as Special Advisor to the Governor for the Implementation of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Working in coordination with the Governor’s Federal Stimulus Working Group, he was responsible for overseeing and tracking the distribution of Florida’s federal stimulus dollars and ensuring taxpayers have access to the information needed to hold government accountable for its use of the funds. In 2004, Don Winstead continued to serve as the Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which had responsibility for a wide range of human services. He began his career as a front-line caseworker and has worked in a variety of direct service, administrative and managerial positions ranging from Social Worker to Deputy Secretary. From late 2001 to early 2005, Don served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity he was a key advisor on human services policy and was responsible for policy development, research and evaluation related to welfare reform, supports for low-income families, and services for families, children and youth. In 2004, Don was a nationally recognized expert on federal funding issues and has negotiated ground-breaking federal waivers in welfare reform and child welfare.


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