Prevention Services in Los Angeles County: Where are we now, where do we need to be, and what’s the role for philanthropy?
Federal, state, and local efforts are coalescing around the recognition that truly ensuring that children are safe requires strengthening their families through investments in the development of a continuum of high-quality, community-based preventative services and supports. During our February 23rd meeting, Los Angeles County leaders will discuss the current state of our prevention eco-system, our desired future state, and the role that philanthropy can play in helping to actualize a seamless system that will promote holistic child, youth, and family well-being.
Rochelle Alley is an expert in child well-being system change whose professional experience spans over 20+ years in Los Angeles and East Coast child welfare and early education spaces. Following years growing and improving services at Children’s Bureau of Southern California and Westside Children’s Center, she founded Big Orange Splot, LLC and has since advised and facilitated numerous Los Angeles County prevention and system change efforts. She works closely with philanthropic, County, and non-profit partners on behalf of the Center for Strategic Partnerships and the Office of Child Protection, and is known for bridging cross-sector resources and leveraging operational acumen to maximize collaborative impact. Rochelle earned an MBA with a focus on cross-sector management and marketing from Yale University and a BA degree in Government magna cum laude from Harvard University. She loves to swim and has two fantastic kids who keep her on her toes every day!
Deputy Director, LA County DMH
Robert Byrd, Psy.D., is the Deputy Director for the Prevention Services Division with Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH).
Dr. Byrd earned his doctorate at Pepperdine University in 1994 and has over 25 years of clinical experience working with children and families both as a private practitioner and as a member of several renowned L.A. County-contracted community mental health organizations and health facilities. During his tenure with community-based organizations, Dr. Byrd provided therapeutic services, supervised clinicians in training, and was involved in the development of early intervention programs and services to meet the needs of youth and families.
Dr. Byrd joined LA County DMH in 2009, at a time when the Department was in the beginning stages of implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI), which was designed to proactively address the mental health needs of the county’s population through education, support, outreach, and evidence-based services.
Collaborating with key partners that serve children, youth and families has been the cornerstone of Dr. Byrd’s work. He has been mindful of the value and importance of inter-agency communication and engagement to ensure successful implementation and delivery of quality mental health services throughout the county. Dr. Byrd serves as a subject matter expert in mental health and child welfare for Statewide committees tasked with developing policy implementing new statewide initiatives. He has been a champion for equity and supporting the needs of disadvantaged and underserved populations and communities. Throughout his career, prevention and advocacy strategies, as well as reducing the stigma of mental health have been a priority of his work. It is within this context that Dr. Byrd leads a team of professionals devoted to developing programs and resources to address the risk factors associated with mental illness and emotional disturbances.
Chief Executive Officer, SHIELDS for Families
Kathryn Icenhower, PhD, LCSW is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SHIELDS for Families, a private non-profit organization incorporated in 1991 with 340 staff, a $30 million dollar budget and 35 programs that serve over 10,000 families annually in South Los Angeles. Kathryn received her BSSW from Ohio State University and her MSW and PhD from the University of Southern California. Dr. Icenhower sits on numerous local, state, and federal coalitions and advisory boards, including a federal appointment to the Advisory Committee for Women’s Services (ACWS) for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), President Emeritus of the national Treatment Communities of America association and the California State Child Welfare Council where she serves as Co-Chair of the Prevention and Early Intervention Committee and Co-Chair of the State’s Family First Prevention Services Act Advisory Committee. She has been recognized by numerous entities for her piloting work in the substance abuse and child welfare fields including an “Innovator Award” from CSAT for her work in Family Centered Treatment; the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award; the “Visionary Award” from the National Association of Minority Contractors; and named as one of the 50 most influential women in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine.
Commissioner, Commission for Children and Families
Jacquelyn McCroskey, Co-Director of the Children’s Data Network, is also Professor Emerita at the USC School of Social Work. She works with philanthropic, government and private sector partners to harness the potential of linked, administrative data to inform children’s programs and policies. Through her work with policymakers, organizational and community leaders, she has developed and assessed interagency collaboration and public-private partnerships across service areas to inform improvements to government and community systems serving children, youth and families. She currently serves on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, First 5 LA and Policy Roundtable for Child Care and Development.
Project Director, Los Angeles County
Minsun Park Meeker is the Assistant Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection. She has over 15 years of experience in child welfare systems change through program and policy development, implementation, and evaluation. Prior to joining the Office of Child Protection, Minsun served in leadership roles at several Los Angeles County child welfare advocacy and policy organizations, working towards improving education, workforce development, housing, and transition outcomes for children and youth in foster care. She has also worked as a Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office and was responsible for evaluating the fiscal and programmatic impact of legislative and gubernatorial child welfare and labor proposals. Minsun holds an MPP from the University of Southern California, and a BS in Economics and a BA in International Studies and German from the University of Pennsylvania.
Director, Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation / Pritzker Foster Care Initiative
Lauren Nichols is the Director of Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation/ Pritzker Foster Care Initiative a private family foundation investing in strengthening many of the unique institutions that define Los Angeles. The Foundation aims to enrich our community not just for the present, but for generations to come, with particular focus on child and family wellbeing, health, higher education, the environment and the arts.
Before joining Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, Lauren worked primarily in arts and culture organizations in Development. Lauren has worked for a number of diverse nonprofit organizations including: 18th Street Arts Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Arts Council for Long Beach, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, and the Orange County Community Foundation.
In March 2021, Lauren was elected as Chair of the Mid City West Neighborhood Council. In recognition for her community work, the Empowerment Congress nominated her in 2017, as one of the ’40 under 40’ in LA County for civic engagement. Lauren also serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of Foster Care Counts a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of youth in foster care. She is a founding member of the Foster Nation Young Leaders Collective. Lauren has also been an active member of the Advisory Board for Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles (now part of Arts for LA). She holds a BA in History/French from Tulane University and a MA in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University.
D'Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Racial Equity, Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office
Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza currently serves as the inaugural Executive Director of Racial Equity for Los Angeles County. In this capacity, he is tasked with championing the elimination of structural racism while also promoting efforts to deepen the County's work on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Scorza’s life’s work is centered on building leaders who fight for equity in communities and schools. In his previous roles as the Executive Director of Social Justice Learning Institute, a UC Regent and the President of the Board of Education for the Inglewood Unified School District, he launched programs that helped youth of color become social justice leaders and college graduates. He also helped pass policies that prioritized $160 million for student services across UC campuses and secured $350 million to support school construction for k-12 schools.
As a U.S. Navy Iraq-War Veteran and civic leader, he has received numerous awards and accolades, including being recognized as one of the 40 Emerging Civic Leaders under 40 in 2018 and received the UCLA Recent Graduate Achievement Award in 2016.
Dr. Scorza has been quoted in multiple publications, such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine and several podcasts.