Carol Wilson Spigner is a child welfare policy and services consultant who recently retired from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice where she directed the social policy program and taught policy and macro practice. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, she served as Associate Commissioner for the Children's Bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services. As the federal policy leader, Spigner directed the implementation of Family Support and Family Preservation Act, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and redesigned the federal monitoring process. Spigner has published articles on permanency planning, adoption and disparities in child welfare. Her work has been recognized through awards from American Public Human Services Association, North American Council on Adoptable Children, National Association of Social Workers, Association of Black Social Workers, Black Administrators in Child Welfare, The Association of Child Welfare Mangers and Child Welfare League of America. Spigner holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California. Her current work focuses on disparities in child welfare and reform of complex child welfare systems.
Yolie Flores was previously a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District and CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council (CPC), the largest children’s partnership network in the United States. A first generation Mexican American, Flores has championed several reforms targeting the needs of low-income children and families. As a school board member she authored the Public School Choice resolution, as well as the Teacher Effectiveness resolution, illustrating a keen understanding of the challenges that confront students. Flores received her B.A. from the University of Redlands and her Master of Social Welfare from UCLA. She was a Coro City Focus Fellow, and a member of the inaugural class of the national Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship. She has received the YWCA “Incredible Woman Making History” award, the Los Angeles County “Woman of the Year” award and the National Association of Social Workers “Social Worker of the Year” award.
Mark Joseph’s current research is focused on the study of mixed-income development as a strategy to reduce poverty. He has studied the economic impacts of incarceration as well as comprehensive community development strategies in high poverty neighborhoods. Joseph received his B.A. in Government from Harvard University. He received a Harlech Scholarship for graduate study at Oxford University. He continued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Joseph completed a post-doctoral scholarship at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and was a research associate at the Chapin Hall Center for Children. In 2005, Joseph received the Harris School’s “Minorities in Public Policy Studies Alumnus of the Year” award and in 2007 won the Best Paper of the Year award from the Urban Affairs Association.
Gary Stangler is Executive Director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a national foundation created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs to leverage resources and public will to help youth in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. Prior to joining the Initiative, Stangler served as the director of Missouri's Department of Social Services for 11 years. Appointed by then-Gov. John Ashcroft (R) in 1989, he was re-appointed by Governor Mel Carnahan (D) in 1993. He began his career in the Department of Social Services in 1980 and worked his way up the ranks. Stangler has testified on a number of occasions before Congress on foster care, indigent health care and family preservation. He has received numerous awards, including the Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children. Stangler is a graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia and the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Judge William A. Thorne, Jr. is currently a judge on the State of Utah Court of Appeals and was formerly a judge in the Third District Court. He has served as a tribal court judge in 10 states and is the former president of the National Indian Justice Center, a nonprofit that trains tribal court personnel around the country. Nationally known as a leading expert on policies and programs to support children, particularly Native American children and their families, Thorne is currently chair of the Board of Directors for Child Trends, Inc., a premiere nonprofit child-centered research group. He is also a board member of WestEd, Inc., a nonprofit focused on excellence and equity in education and a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. A former member of the board of directors for National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a nonprofit group that provides representation for abused and neglected children in court and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit seeking to improve the level of research and practice related to adoptions and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), Thorne has also served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children and was a member of the PEW Commission of Children in Foster Care. Thorne is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara and Stanford Law School. He was formerly chair of the Utah Juvenile Justice Task Force of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, vice-chair of the Utah Board of Youth Corrections, member of the Salt Lake County Domestic Violence Advisory Committee and a member of the steering committee for the Judicial Council’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness.