Who is B.A.C.W.?

The Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Inc. is a group that was formed in 1971 and incorporated in New York in 1975. The organization was formed to address the reluctance of child welfare agencies to respond appropriately to need for specialized services for Black children and their families, and to press for the employment of Black professionals in responsible administrative positions. The organization also served as a support network for the small number of Black executives running child welfare and human service agencies.

 Mission Statement 

As a membership and advocacy organization, the mission of the Black Administrators in Child Welfare is to advocate for culturally-appropriate services for African American children and families in the child welfare system and to promote the development and support of African American leaders in the field.

 Vision Statement 

As a membership and advocacy organization, the mission of the Black Administrators in Child Welfare is to advocate for culturally-appropriate services for African American children and families in the child welfare system and to promote the development and support of African American leaders in the field.

 Organizational History 

From the Beginning 

The idea to form the Black Administrators in Child Welfare stemmed from an encounter at the 1970 meetings of the Council of Executive Directors of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) held in Miami, Florida. Acting on behalf of the few Black administrators in attendance, Howard Prunty interrupted a general session to voice their concerns. While the presentation was limited to the inconspicuous number of blacks appointed to management positions in the CWLA member agencies, and the reluctance of those agencies to respond appropriately to the need for specialized services for black children and their families, it was enough to formulate the beginning of the Black Administrators in Child Welfare.

Stimulated by the guidance of Howard Prunty, then CWLA consultant assigned to work with the group, a first meeting was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 22 and 23, 1971. Present at this meeting were thirteen black administrators. A committee was formed which included Valeria Bullard, Edmond D. Jones, and Benjamin Finley. This first official meeting resulted in a very focused discussion on the role and function of such an organization. After devising a strategy of coordinating activities and meeting schedules for this small number of black administrators who were employed by voluntary and public agencies in various parts of the country, the Black Administrators in Child Welfare was formally organized in 1971.

From its beginning, and even now, Black Administrators in Child Welfare has worked to better serve black children and their families. It has continued to refine its role within the American social welfare system since the historic first meeting of the founding members in 1971. Valeria Bullard, past chairperson, along with Edmond D. Jones, and Benjamin Finley met at the home of Wetonah B. Jones in Philadelphia, and adopted an administrative and social practice philosophy, which guides the activities of the organization even today. It is designed to stimulate productive child welfare practice for all children. 

The Child Welfare League of America endorsed the need for the organization from its beginning as evidenced by their assignment of staff to work with the group. Gwendolyn Davis, then librarian at the League, served as the liaison representative from 1973 to 1980.

Financial support was provided annually by the League from 1973 to 1982, and was used to help defray travel costs and meeting expenses for the quarterly meetings of the membership. Meetings were then being held in various cities along the east coast where most of the members resided. By 1973 the membership had increased to 40 members and has remained at or above this level since that time.

In 1975, a nine-member board of directors was appointed, and a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer were elected. The board replaced the steering committee as the governing body and the organization was incorporated September 29, 1975 in New York State. The board was later expanded to eleven members to reelect regional representation of its membership. A three standing committee format — social action, child welfare services, and budget was established to replace the various committees that had previously existed. With the exception of special committees established to address a particular issue, all matters addressed by the organization were handled by one of the standing committees. Today, the standing committees are: Policy and Legislation; child welfare programs; membership; and budget and nance, and are the pivotal points of all BACW activities.

The focus of the organization’s interest was gradually changed in order to expose the membership to more current administrative and practice trends in child welfare. Seminars and workshops are used to introduce knowledgeable speakers at the quarterly meetings to discuss topics on black practice issues, new trends in financial management and budgeting, changes in legislative direction, and the legal interventions in the operation of government programs.

BACW completed a special report on, “Services to Black Children In Their Own Homes,” in November 1980. A practical strategy for implementation of this report, “Development of a Family Maintenance System: An Improvement To The Child Welfare System,” was first presented at the Central Regional Conference of the Child Welfare League of America, in April 1981. Many of the components of the Family Maintenance System have been incorporated into the various Family Preservation programs that have evolved in the past decade around the country.

In the 1990s, BACW convened a 40-member national commission to study the role of culture in risk assessment instruments in the child welfare system. It published a special issue of the Child Welfare journal, “Perspectives on serving African American Children, Youth and Families,” which featured African American authors and, “Children in Social Peril: A Community Vision for Preserving Family Care of African American Children and Youth;” developed a training seminar entitled “A Journey Towards Cultural Competency,” which has been used to train child welfare staff across the country. 

BACW has held its national annual meetings for 35 years, which has grown from a small 1-day symposium to a 2 and one-half-day conference with as many as 600 participants in attendance. These conferences feature dynamic African American experts in child welfare and related areas, as plenary speakers, workshop presenters, regional meetings, advisory committee meetings and a village celebration. 


BACW has addressed many salient child welfare issues, such as family preservation and placement prevention, treatment disparities and disproportionality, cultural competency and the workforce, transracial adoption, kinship care, emancipated youth, teen pregnancy, and the plight of young black males. Some actions have resulted in progress, but there have also been disappointments.

We have been through many struggles and have encountered many impediments, but the desire to improve the plight of black children has been the impetus for the continuation of BACW and has sustained the ups and downs in the membership growth and participation. The organization has addressed all issues, big and small, where the welfare of children was concerned. BACW is a young, but strong and resilient organization, dedicated to working towards helping black families and children. Its aim is to build not destroy, to create not tear down, and to be — not to exist.

BACW is a village of concerned black administrators with a commitment and dedication to serve the best interests of “our children, our legacy.”


Board Leadership

Keith D. Bostick (President)

Boward County Human Services Department

115 South Andrews Avenue, Suite 318

Fort Lauderdale, FL  33301

Email: KBostick@broward.org

Email:   KDB1611@yahoo.com

Office: (954) 357-6051

Yakiciwey Mitchell, MSW (1st Vice President)


Edifying Nations Consulting

14742 Beach Boulevard, #154

La Mirada, CA 90638

Mobile: (323)-833-4737

Email:   nationbuilder@edifyingnations.com

Dr. Sherri Simmons-Horton (2nd Vice President)

Assistant Professor

University of New Hampshire

Mobile: (832) 755-9685

Dr. Alan-Michael S. Graves (Treasurer)

Director of National Programs



4005 West Jefferson Boulevard


Los Angeles, CA 90016

Mobile:  323-633-5463

Lisa R. Chambers (Secretary)

Managing Director

A Second Chance, Inc.


8350 Frankstown, Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Mobile: (412) 303-2964


Dr. David Brock, D. Min.

Bishop and Lead Servant

Love Fellowship Church of Pittsburgh

232 Church Street Ext.

Turtle Creek, PA  15149


Office: (412) 378-5289



Kimm R. Campbell, MSW, LCSW

Assistant County Administrator

Broward County Human Services

115 South Andrews Avenue

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Office: (954)-357-7352

Fax: (954)-468-3592

Donald Dew

Executive Director/President/CEO

Habilitative Systems, Inc

Chicago, IL 60615

Mobile: (312) 835-6517

Lisa Ford, LSW

Lead Social Worker

Migrant Support Services Program

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area

4406 Georgia Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20011

Office: (202) 723-3000

Mark Francis


Cysson Enterprise, Inc.

5303 NW 106th Drive

Coral Spring, FL 33076

Office: (754)-245-4444

Email: cysson@aol.com

Margo Harris

Ladera Educational Institute


601 Grace Avenue

Inglewood, CA 90301


Office: (310)-740-0922


Email: MargoGHSA@ca.rr.com  

Joyce James, LMSW AP

Racial Equity Consultant

Joyce James Consulting, LLC


2401 Silent Brook Trail

Round Rock, TX 78665


Office: (409)-553-0314


Email:  jjameslmsw@aol.com

Stacy Johnson MSW, JD

Bair Foundation

State Director of Pennsylvania

Dr. Ollie Collier Jones

CEO and President

Heart to Heart Family Support Center

Mobile: (330) 760-3389

Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW

President, Black Men at Penn School of SW. Inc


University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice


University of Pennsylvania,


6617 North 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19126


Email: lassiterii@aol.com

Nathaniel Lewis

Skyworks Aerial Solutions

1611 Woodbow Crossing

Dacula, GA 30019

Mobile: (336) 457-9034

Email: info@skyworksuavs.com


Brace Lowe

President & CEO

Lift Empowerment, LLC

8350 Frankstown Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Office: (412) 342-0600


Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel

President & CEO

A Second Chance Inc.

8350 Frankstown Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Office: (412) 342-0600

Fax:  412) 342-0606


Oronde Miller, MA

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mobile: (202)-744-1449

Dr. William E. Smith

Tennessee State University

Mobile: (571) 214-3002

Email:  Williamsmith1956@yahoo.com


Dr. Annetta Wilson


SANKOFA Safe Child Institute

4041 W. Roosevelt Road

Chicago, IL 60624

Office: (773) 542-9900

Fax: (773) 826-9537


Lisa Thorpe-Vaughn, MA


AYA Institute

6760 Windhaven Parkway Suite, 2076

The Colony, TX 75056

Mobile: (412) 480-0376


Howard E. Prunty


186 Blake Lane

Ellenwood, GA 30294

Mobile: (917) 538-5570


Rita A. Graham

Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Inc.

7625 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 300

Bethesda, MD 20814

Office: (240)-482-4968

Fax: (240)-482-3599

Dr. James T. Freeman, Ph.D., LCSW

JTF & Associates, PLLC

1034 Bent Branch Street

Gastonia, NC 28054

Mobile: (412) 200-0530


 Guiding Principles 

BACW is committed to strengthening and supporting the healthy development of African American children, families and communities through advocacy. Since our inception, BACW has adopted and expanded upon the following fundamental principles:

Ensure that the Black experience becomes a part of the awareness, understanding and service delivery of child welfare agencies throughout the nation so that Black clients can be better served in a manner which enriches the lives of Black children and families receiving services.

Establish a structure which provides knowledge about the Black experience in child welfare.

Assist in the identification of Black administrators and assist in securing administrative positions in public and voluntary human resource agencies, hospitals and institutions.

Make available opportunities for exchange of administrative experience among Black administrators.

Develop and extend services to all children, with an emphasis on Black children and their identity.

Contact Us

Black Administrators in Child Welfare

7625 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20814

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