American Humane Association presented the prestigious Vincent De Francis Award to William C. Bell on April 1, 2009, in Atlanta during the 17th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. The award recognizes those with the vision and commitment to reach across disciplines in order to improve child welfare systems on a national level. Bell is president and chief executive officer of Casey Family Programs, a position he has held since 2006.
Bell’s efforts exemplify significant and national leadership in child welfare. At Casey Family Programs, he has been a leading force behind its 2020 Strategy for America’s Children. This strategy seeks to reduce the foster care population by 50 percent and improve youth outcomes in education, employment and mental health by the year 2020.
Previously, he was commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and associate executive director for Miracle Makers, the largest minority-owned, non-profit child and family services organization in New York.
Bell is a trustee for America’s Promise and serves on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Youth at Risk. He also serves on the boards of directors of the Association of Black Foundation Executives and the Marguerite Casey Foundation; is a member of the board of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families; and is co-chair of the board of directors for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.
The Vincent De Francis Award is named after the director emeritus of Children’s Services for American Humane Association, who published many works in the 1950s through 1970s that provide the foundation of child protection as it exists today. Considered one of the fathers of child protection services, De Francis was instrumental in defining child protection as a helping, non-punitive approach. He saw it as a preventive program that “keeps family and children together by aiding them to resolve the problems underlying child neglect.”
American Humane Association, a leader in child and family services, will continue to recognize individuals and organizations for their commitment to and accomplishments in improving child welfare by presenting the Vincent De Francis Award biennially. Anyone interested in nominating a deserving individual or organization for the 2012 award should send a letter describing in detail the significant contributions the person or organization has made toward the advancement of national child welfare systems. The nomination letter, which should include full contact information for both the nominee and the nominator, should be sent no later than April 30, 2011, to:
American Humane Association
Sonia C. Velazquez
Vice President, Children’s Division
63 Inverness Drive East
Englewood, CO 80112
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org