American Humane Association Appoints John Sciamanna

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John Sciamanna has joined the American Humane Association as director of children’s policy and government affairs. Based in Washington, D.C., Sciamanna will lead American Humane’s efforts to link child welfare research and practice to federal policy.

American Humane has conducted extensive work and research in the area of child welfare reform and system advancement, such as including families in decision making, improving safety and risk assessments, engaging nonresident fathers, and promoting alternative responses to traditional child protection investigations. In recent years, Congress and the Administration have shown increased interest in all of those areas, and American Humane is poised to influence policy at the federal and state levels to improve outcomes for children and families.

For the past decade, Sciamanna has worked for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), most recently as co-director of government affairs. He has spent more than 17 years in Washington and began his work in the U.S. Senate as legislative assistant for Sens. Donald Riegle (Michigan) and Barbara Mikulski (Maryland). After his time in the Senate, he left Capitol Hill to work for the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). 

Sciamanna’s work in Washington has coincided with numerous significant policy changes in several human service policy areas, including the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the expansion of the child-care block grant, and some significant changes in child welfare, including the enactment of an important child welfare reform package, the Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2008. He has written numerous articles, provided congressional testimony, commented on federal regulations, and spoken at numerous conferences. He presented at the 10th Eusarf International Conference in Padua, Italy, “Assessing the Evidence-Base of Intervention for Vulnerable Children and Their Families,” in 2008 and served on Voice for Adoption’s board and the Public Policy Advisory Group for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

“We are very fortunate to have John Sciamanna lead the child welfare public policy efforts of American Humane and represent us in Washington, D.C.,” said Sonia Velazquez, senior vice president of American Humane’s child welfare programs. “Together with Patty Chavez, policy and government affairs associate, John will work hand-in-hand with the program staff headquartered in Colorado to advance federal and state child welfare public policy efforts.”

Chavez, who joined American Humane in 2008, will assist Sciamanna in advocating for and educating members of Congress, their staff and the public on policies that improve the lives of children and families. She will also continue to represent American Humane at national coalition meetings and engage American Humane’s constituents to participate in the political process by communicating with their members of Congress.

“American Humane is at the forefront of current public concerns, such as the intersection of immigration and child welfare, evidence-based practice issues, and methods to measure the complexities of child welfare workload, as well as innovative initiatives and approaches, such as chronic neglect and disparities and decision making in child welfare,” said Velazquez. “John and Patty serve important roles in communicating, advocating for and achieving American Humane’s vision of family and child well-being.”

About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

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