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Think of Us Welcomes Robert L. Matthews as Inaugural Chief Program Officer

Written by
June 17, 2024

We are thrilled to share that Robert L. Matthews will be joining the Think of Us leadership team as our inaugural Chief Program Officer, effective July 15, 2024. Robert brings over two decades of invaluable experience in the child welfare field, most recently serving as the Director of the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) for the District of Columbia.

Throughout his distinguished career, Robert has achieved significant systemic improvements in child welfare, including:

  • Designing and implementing the "Kin-First" initiative in D.C., which prioritized family placement and support from the point of a child protective services investigation
  • Successfully leading D.C. in being the first jurisdiction to have its five-year Family First prevention plan approved by the U.S. Children's Bureau
  • Meeting rigorous performance standards to lead D.C.'s child welfare agency out of a 32-year federal court oversight case

Robert's vision for the future of child welfare aligns with our core values. Together, we're focused on:

  • Strengthening families through proactive support, early intervention, prevention, kinship care, and community-based services that keep children safe, stable, and connected to their loved ones
  • Sharing power and co-designing family-centered solutions with people who have experienced the system 
  • Leveraging data and technology to accelerate better outcomes for transition-age youth, kinship caregivers, and birth parents

As our first-ever Chief Program Officer, Robert will align our program strategy and execution to maximize impact for youth and families. His leadership will be critical as Think of Us moves into its next phase of growth, strengthening the organization's capacity to test innovative models, advocate for meaningful policy reforms, and implement solutions that create better outcomes for families and youth with lived experience in foster care and child welfare.

"I'm honored to join the Think of Us team and work alongside inspiring changemakers who are putting the lived experience of those impacted by child welfare at the forefront of driving systemic transformation," Robert shared. "This role allows me to build upon my prior work in expanding kinship care, strengthening prevention services, and improving outcomes for families and youth."

Sixto Cancel, Think of Us Founder and CEO, added, "We are elated to have such a proven and visionary leader like Robert L. Matthews join our team. Robert is a nationally-respected leader who shares our passion and commitment to co-creating systemic solutions by authentically engaging and centering the voices of those most impacted. His addition is an incredible asset as we enhance our programs and policy influence to create meaningful, lasting reforms."

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Robert.