Strategy 2020: Safely Reducing Foster Care by Half

Saturday, November 14 | 9:30–10:30 a.m.

Casey Family Programs' 2020 Strategy is driving the political and public will for making comprehensive changes to foster care systems in the United States. All of America's children need the stability of a permanent home and family in order to grow into successful, healthy adults. Foster homes, by definition, are temporary. Casey Family Programs' goal is to make sure a child's stay in foster care is also temporary—and brief. Child welfare systems across the nation are committing to the 2020 Strategy as an effective way to carry out their ultimate mission of protecting children. The goals are:
  1. A safe reduction in the number of children in foster care by 50 percent by the year 2020;
  2. Reinvestment of the funds saved from that reduction on strategies and practices that strengthen families and improve child welfare systems; and
  3. Assurance that children in foster care, and adults who grew up in foster care, have equitable access to education, employment and mental health services.





contrerasJackie Contreras

Managing Director, Strategic Consulting
Casey Family Programs
Jackie Contreras joined Casey Family Programs in February 2007 and currently serves as one of four managing directors for Strategic Consulting. Casey Family Programs is a Seattle-based foundation focused on foster care. The organization also consults with states on improving foster care systems. In fact, Contreras leads a team of seasoned child welfare professionals who provide a range of consulting services to state, county and tribal systems across the country, including California. Contreras previously served as a deputy director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, responsible for direct services to more than 13,000 children and their families. Prior to her work with the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, she worked as a psychologist and manager with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, where she directed intensive in-home mental health services and managed contracted services to children and families, transitional age youth, adults and older adults.


nashMichael Nash

Judge, Central Juvenile Court
Michael Nash received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Prior to being appointed municipal court judge in 1985, Nash served as a deputy attorney general in the criminal division of the California Attorney General’s Office where he handled criminal appeals and trials for more than 10 years. Nash was elevated to the Superior Court in 1989 and has served in the Juvenile Court since 1990. Since 1995 he has served as either presiding judge of the Juvenile Court or supervising judge of the Dependency Court in Los Angeles. He is a past member of the California Judicial Council, a member of the cxecutive committee and past chair of the Juvenile Court Judges of California, treasurer of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, a member of the California Judicial Council’s Family and Juvenile Advisory Committee, and a member of California’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care. He is also a member of the California Child Welfare Council and the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Nash received numerous awards including recognition as Juvenile Court Judge of the Year by the Juvenile Court Judges of California in 1997 and 2006 Judge of the Year by the National CASA Association.



Carol Liu

California Senator
Carol Liu was elected to the California State Senate in 2008. She represented the 44th Assembly District from 2000-2006. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, Liu served eight years as a City Councilmember, including two terms as mayor of La Cañada Flintridge. Liu was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland. She graduated from San Jose State College and earned a lifetime teaching credential and an administrative credential from UC-Berkeley. In the Senate, Liu continues to pursue her agenda to improve public education, increase access to higher education and to career and technical education, and assure essential services for the elderly, low-income and disabled. She is also working to improve environmental quality and access to alternative transportation. Her committee assignments include chairing the Senate Human Services Committee and the Senate Education Subcommittee on Education Governance and Accountability.


ploehnPatricia S. Ploehn

Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
Patricia S. Ploehn became director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services in September 2006, and was the first director selected from within the department since its inception in 1984. Before that she worked as a treatment counselor, a social worker and supervisor there. In her current position, Ploehn directs all operations of the department with an annual budget of more than $1.7 billion and approximately 7,300 staff. Ploehn oversees all aspects of the administration of protective services, foster and out-of-home care, adoption and treatment for child victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, and services to children at risk of maltreatment and their families. Ploehn frequently cites the critical key three outcomes expected for all children of Los Angeles County: increased safety, reduced reliance on detention and out-of-home care and decreased timelines to permanency. As director of the Department of Children and Family Services, she is committed to ensuring all Los Angeles County children have the opportunity to grow up in safe, permanent and loving families. Ploehn graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and received a master’s of social work degree from California State University, Long Beach. She also is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of California.