Developing Leaders

Reflecting on the Children and Family Fellowship

Posted November 2, 2023
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Download This Book:
Download Report
Aecf developingleaders cover 2023


This book pays tribute to 30 years of the Children and Family Fellowship® with short, first-person reflections on the program and leadership from participants, faculty, staff and partners.

In this commemorative publication, Fellows discuss four themes:

  1. results and equity;
  2. self-awareness and leadership development;
  3. collaboration, peer-to-peer learning and mutual support; and
  4. weathering change and transitions.

About the Children and Family Fellowship

In 1993, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Children and Family Fellowship to provide social-sector leaders with the tools, skills and approaches necessary to achieve longstanding system reform.

The Casey Foundation believed that leadership plays a key role in supporting system transformation and community change on behalf of children, youth and families. Through 12 Fellowship classes, Casey tested this hypothesis repeatedly and found that results-driven leaders can help position all young people — no matter their race, ethnicity or ZIP code — to succeed.

Fellows enter the program as mid-career leaders who are ready for significant professional growth and expanded leadership roles. These dynamic leaders represent a wide variety of backgrounds. Their work spans the fields of education, juvenile justice, philanthropy, child welfare, economic development, housing, mental health and research and evaluation. And, despite working in different disciplines, these leaders share the following beliefs:

  • All children, youth and families deserve to thrive, not just survive.
  • The people closest to a problem should drive the solutions.
  • Data can both mask and illuminate entrenched disparities.
  • Small solutions are not enough.

As the Fellows learn about and apply the competencies of Results Count® — Casey’s approach to leadership development — they leverage data and drive decision-making around concrete goals. Fellows think strategically, get things done and measure the difference they are making for the well-being of the nation’s children.

The Fellowship experience and Network have helped participants lead in the face of daily crises, unpredictable funding, administration changes, social upheavals and a pandemic. Over their careers, Fellows have moved into positions of greater influence, scope and scale while deepening their commitment to achieving equitable results for youth, families, communities and the systems that serve them.

Today, 30 years since its launch, the Fellowship is Casey’s signature program for developing results-driven leaders and equipping these leaders with the vision, skills and ability to champion and drive major system reforms for children, families and communities.

About the Fellowship Network

The Foundation maintains a national Fellowship Network and convenes alumni annually. This group — which is robust, engaged and connected — receives ongoing opportunities for peer support and leadership development. Its members are committed to one another and to driving change on behalf of children, youth and families.

The Fellowship Network elects leadership chairs and a steering committee to plan and coordinate its activities. Fellows also serve on committees to help plan gatherings and learning opportunities. These efforts, which the Casey Foundation supports, enable Fellows to forge and maintain meaningful, impactful and lifelong relationships.

Findings & Stats

Reflections From Fellows

Key Takeaway

A resource informed by 30 years of learning and leading

In this book, Fellowship alumni share lessons that focus on results, racial and ethnic equity, self-awareness, collaboration and leading through change. Their entries also cover career advancement and the work of achieving equitable results by concentrating on targeted strategies for those most in need.