• Projects

    Connecting People, Ideas, and Data! (Collaborators and Innovative Thinkers Welcome to Participate)


    Developing curriculum for the very first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) covering the history, evolution, and current status of the field of Child Welfare. In it's early stages, the idea for a Child Welfare MOOC was born of a combination of my passion for life-long learning and my desire to engage a broader audience in understanding the critical work of protecting vulnerable children. If the MOOC should happen to inspire a few recruits to undertake a rewarding career in child welfare, all the better.
    In tandem with the MOOC project, the provision of badges to document the attainment of knowledge and skills in child welfare is being explored. Topics being considered are ICWA, documentation, and life-skills development.


    Building a comprehensive, accessible, on-line repository of data covering a cross-section of the areas of Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Education, including number of children and families served, outcomes, and workforce characteristics. To learn more about this, check out a summary of the CommunityData Wiki submitted for grant funding. Sadly, the project didn't make the final cut for funding but that has not weakened my unbridled enthusiasm for bringing data to the masses.

    Social Media

    Exploring the use of innovation, community-building, social media, and crowd-sourcing to improve outcomes for children and families. At any given time, there are at least a dozen ideas bouncing around in my brain, waiting for the right synergy to develop into a full-fledged mission. The current obsession is my vision of a Daily Grommet of Human Services, a potpourri, if you will, of human service programs, packaged neatly in a yet-to-be-designed website for all to use. Another vision--a better trained child workforce using digital badges to demonstrate competencies.
    Interested? Use the Contact Form at the bottom of this page to get in touch. 
  • Summary

    Senior level human services professional with expertise in data, technology, research to practice, and quality improvement. I possess a proven record of complex problem solving, maximizing potential utilizing emerging technologies and media. My strengths include: project management, collaboration, communications, innovative program development, critical analysis, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement. I have conducted several environmental scans of legislation, policy and practice, and data in programs serving vulnerable children, youth, young adults, and families.

    Follow my Child Welfare Blog for cutting edge news, information, and innovation regarding children, youth, families, and communities.

    Social Policy & Practice

    Expertise in collaboration across systems serving children, youth, and families, including the areas of: 
    • Child Protection/Child Welfare
    • Early Childhood
    • Education
    • Juvenile Justice
    • Health Care
    • Substance Abuse
    • Information Technology
    • Community Engagement
  • Skills

    Data Collection & Analysis

    Child Welfare; Juvenile Justice; Education; Early Childhood

    State & Federal Policy Analysis

    Children, Youth, & Families; Health, Education; Child Abuse/Neglect

    Collaboration & Strategic Planning

    Child Welfare, Education, Housing, Juvenile Justice, Early Childhood, Philanthropy

    Program Development & Grant Writing

    Human Services; Education & Training; Community Development; Early Childhood

    Best Practices in Child Welfare

    Foster Care; Adoption; Youth in Care; Aging Out; Guardianship: Education

    Technical Writing & Social Media

    Summary Reports; Training Guides; Technical Assistance; Best Practices in Social Media

    Environmental Scanning

    Policy & Practice in Child Welfare; Justice Reform; Education; Early Childhood; Legislation

    Innovations & Program Development

    Child Welfare; Cross-Systems Collaboration; Training & Education
  • Awards & Presentations

    Awards & Community Activities

    • Safe Zone Ally - Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), 2015-Present
    • Open Badges in Higher Ed Working Group, 2015-Present
    • Migration & Child Welfare National Network/Practice Committee, 2010-2014
    • Camp to Belong Board of Directors, 2010-2012
    • Orphan Foundation of America Mentor, Washington, DC, 2006-2010
    • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Lancaster County, NE, 1999-2005
    • Licensed Foster Parent, State of Nebraska, 2001-2003
    • Siouxland AIDs Coalition Board of Directors, 1994-1999
    • Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence – Crisis Line Volunteer, 1993-1999
    • Appointed Iowa & Eastern Nebraska State HIV/AIDs Consortium,, 1998
    • American Cancer Society – Support Group Facilitator, 1994-1996
    • Governor’s Award Recipient – Welfare Reform Project, 1995
    • Woodbury County Red Cross Volunteer, 1989-1994
    • Recipient of STAR Award (State Top Achievement Recognition-Iowa), 1989
    • Recipient of Red Cross Volunteer Awards, 1989 & 1993

    Presentations & Publications

  • Experience

    Community College of Baltimore County

    Project Director - School of Health Professions Student Retention Nov 2014 - Present
    • Manage multiple grants and budgets
    • Plan and coordinate student retention activities
    • Supervise student and professional academic support staff
    • Analyze data and prepare written reports

    Child Welfare

    Consultant Jul 2010 - Present
    Independent Consultant in the areas of:
    • Environmental Scanning
    • Technical Writing
    • Data Analysis
    • Federal, State, and Non-Profit Grant Writing and Review
    • Program Development
    • Program Evaluation
    • Best Practices in Children & Youth Services
    • Indian Child Welfare Act
    • State & Federal Policy Guidance
    • Training in Child Welfare, Education, and Disability services
    • Trauma-Informed Systems of Care
    • Workforce Engagement
    • Continuous Quality Improvement
    • Technology in Human Services

    Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)

    Director Feb 2008 - Jul 2010
    Director – Research & Practice (previous position: Director National Data Analysis System)
    • Coordinate activities related to data, research, & practice in child welfare including developing written materials, facilitating professional groups, & establishing issue agenda.
    • Serve as primary resource for inquiries from professionals, media, and general public on data in child welfare.
    • Represent CWLA on national advisory groups & serve as staff chair-person for CWLA workgroups, including planning committee for annual Commissioner's Roundtable. Topics include IT & child welfare data, disproportionality, immigration, research to practice, mental health, permanency, and training, with consultation on additional topics.
    • Work with Government Affairs division to formulate position statements on federal and state child welfare legislation, proposed data systems enhancements, and policy.
    • Collaborate with national and state organizations to advocate for children and families.
    • Develop strategies for coordination on a variety of child welfare related topics, and support membership staff by providing information and data related to policy and practice.
    • Prepare written documents such as Issue Briefs and Highlights Bulletins summarizing child welfare policy, practice, and data.
    • Coordinate and assist with agency fund development activities including grant writing, budget preparation, and program development.


    Senior Program Manager Sep 2006 - Jul 2007
    Senior Program Manager – National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators
    • Lead/facilitate a variety workgroups, conduct surveys and prepare summary reports for national dissemination.
    • Provide guidance to state and county administrators in specific topic areas within child welfare.
    • Collaborate with other national organizations to address issues in public child welfare. Workgroup topics include safety and risk as it relates to child abuse/neglect, disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system, and substance abuse.
    • Provide guidance leading to the initiation of workgroups to address the Child & Family Services Reviews and related activities such as Performance Improvement Plans.

    Caliber, an ICFI Consulting Company

    Senior Associate Mar 2005 - Aug 2006
    Senior Associate Child Welfare Monitoring, National Review Team
    (Part-time consultant from 2001-2005)
    • Consultant with National Review Team providing support to the Regional Administration for Children & Families (ACF) child welfare team.
    • Assist in planning of federal Child & Family Service Reviews (CFSR), SACWIS, and AFCARS reviews; serve as an on-site reviewer representing the federal government.
    • Assist Regional office and states in developing Performance Improvement Plans (PIP).
    • Monitor progress on PIP activities and federal outcomes.
    • Serve as a consultant to states on issues related to child welfare outcomes in the areas of safety, permanency, and well-being for children and in systemic areas including data collection and system development, service array, workforce enhancement, court collaboration, independent living programming, and engagement of families in child welfare services.
    • Provide consultation on organizational practices in child welfare such as quality assurance and compliance, support of supervisors and line workers, and engagement of all staff in contributing to the agency mission and vision for the provision of child welfare services to maximize positive outcomes for children and families.
    University of Nebraska Lincoln logo

    Center on Children, Families, & the Law (UNL)

    Project Director Apr 1999 - Apr 2005
    • Responsibility for all aspects of project management of an innovative web-based support and information project for Nebraskans with special needs; target populations include human services consumers and professionals.
    • Successful contract negotiation, expanding number and scope of services provided.
    • Lead multidisciplinary professional team, prepare grants, manage budgets, and provide outreach in communities.
    • Successfully expanded the project funding base by 500% within 4 years and secured new contracts with several local, state, and federal organizations.
    • Expand use of web-based applications to numerous graduate training programs throughout the country, the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and several state and local early intervention programs in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand.
    • Project was the 2000 recipient of Docking Institute Telecommunications Award, a tri-state award for telecommunications success programs.
    Other activities at CCFL include:
    • Consultant in Curriculum Development & Training for Nebraska Protective Service Workers.
    • Lancaster County Collaborations member—collaborative effort to improve child welfare services in Lancaster County.
    • Training in foster/adoptive care, ASFA, case management, concurrent planning.
    • Consultant regarding the federal Child & Family Service Reviews.
    • Consultant in federal Health & Human Services Discretionary Grant programs.

    Child Connect

    Community Services Supervisor, Director of NW IA branch offices Apr 1996 - Apr 1999
    Community Services Supervisor & Director of branch offices – Sioux City Child Connect
    • Manage two branch offices of Child Connect in northwest Iowa.
    • Services include therapeutic foster care, special needs adoptions, family centered services, and parenting skills training.
    • Responsible for all aspects of staff supervision and hiring, office management, budget preparation, grant writing, and contract negotiations with the Iowa DHS.
    • Collaborate with courts, attorneys, public agencies, and families to ensure positive outcomes for children.
    • Successfully secured additional grant funding & contracts to expand service provision by 25%.

    Western Iowa Tech Community College

    Program Specialist Dec 1993 - Apr 1996
    Assessment Specialist – Academic Affairs (‘96-‘97)
    Assessment & Program Specialist – Welfare Reform (‘93-‘96)
    Adult Basic Education/Literacy Instructor – Part-time (‘94-‘97)
    • Evaluate and advise participants in Welfare Reform Program focusing on education and training.
    • Serve as Assessment Specialist in Academic Affairs and Counselor for Displaced Homemaker program.
    • Secure federal grant funding for continuation of program serving women re-entering the workforce.
    • Identify need and develop Adult Basic Education program.
    • Develop curriculum, training, & support programs for persons re-entering the workforce.

    Iowa Department of Human Services

    Social Worker III Supervisor Jul 1987 - Jun 1993
    Social Worker III Supervisor – Adult & Children’s Services (‘88-‘93)
    Social Worker II – Child Protective Services (‘87-‘88)
    • Supervision of Adult & Children’s Services including protective services, foster care, adoptions, day care, in-home health, and MR/MI services.
    • Responsibility for all aspects of staff supervision and training, ensuring compliance with state and federal guidelines.
    • Collaborate with community stakeholders to develop new child welfare programs and services, evaluate existing programs.
    • Testify as an expert witness in domestic violence, Indian Child Welfare Act, and sexual abuse.
    • Develop a pro-active supervision team that reduced turnover significantly from an initial average length of stay of six months to an average of over five years for casework staff in foster care and adoptive services.
    Connie is dedicated to children's welfare. She is an incredibly accomplished person in the areas of project development especially thinking outside of the box to bring new and innovative ideas to child welfare solutions. She is an excellent grant writer and extremely reliable.
    Elizabeth Sterns

  • Education

    Drake University

    Counseling & Personnel Services, Master of Science
    Welcome to the Bulldog social community. Say "hello," share your Drake stories and network with friends, students and alumni. Twitter: @DrakeUniversity.

    Iowa State University

    Psychology Major, Bachelor of Science
    Iowa State is an international, prestigious university with a friendly welcoming personality. More than 31,000 students choose from 100 majors, study with world-class scholars and hone their leadership skills in more than 800 student organizations. Iowa State offers a great environment where students can enjoy reaching their potential and discovering their passions. It's a culturally diverse student body with students from all 50 states and more than 110 countries.
  • Let's Chat!

    I welcome your inquiries about current projects, my expertise and background, or consulting services available.

  • Contact me!