The Alliance for Children and Families has moved its headquarters from Milwaukee, Wisc., to Washington, D.C., and will change its name to the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, CEO Susan Dreyfus announced today at the organization’s national conference in Pittsburgh.
Through discussions with Alliance members and leadership, “we found that our name needed to change,” Dreyfus said in a morning speech. “It was not reflecting members’ connections to their communities.”
The move to Washington comes on the heels of a joint proposal on federal child welfare financing between the Alliance and two other large membership organizations, the National Organization of State Associations for Children (NOSAC), and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA).
Milwaukee will remain the “operations center” of the organization. Dreyfus will spend “more time” in Washington, but none of the Milwaukee-based executives will move. The Washington office is led by Vice President of Policy Katherine Astrich.
“We will be leading, once and for all, to get child welfare finance reform done in this country,” Dreyfus said. “There has been a quiet erosion of federal money since 1996.”
Both the name change and the new headquarters are effective immediately, though the plan is to slowly shift toward use of the new name and new logo by January 1, 2015.
The announcement marks a continuation of structural and cosmetic changes at the Alliance, a 480-member nonprofit representing some of the largest private operators in child welfare, juvenile justice and family services. Last year, it added to its ranks by merging with the United Neighborhood Centers of America, and consolidated a confusing array of related organizations under the Alliance banner.
The Alliance maintained a very limited presence on federal policy under its former leader, Peter Goldberg, who passed away in 2011. It has steadily increased its staff in Washington under Dreyfus, who last month signaled the Alliance’s intention to promote a federal finance reform plan.
Dreyfus, speaking at a California conference, announced the initial details of the plan. It would tie together the allowable services of several federal child welfare programs in order to create greater flexibility for federal dollars, most of which are focused on foster care services.
The new name reflects the shifting reality of Alliance members. Many members were focused on residential programs and congregate care, and have restructured to offer a broader array of home-based services.
“Family and community strength are inseparable,” Dreyfus said. “All people depend on both to survive.”
The search for a new name involved opinions and advice from staff, sector leaders, and more than 300 staff from member organizations, who were contacted through an online survey. The Alliance Board of Directors voted unanimously in August 2014 to change the organization’s name.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.