Robert L. Matthews Bio

Written by
June 12, 2024

Robert L. Matthews is the chief program officer of Think of Us. In this role, Robert shapes and executes the organization's overall programmatic strategy.

Robert has nearly two decades of experience driving systems innovation and improving outcomes for youth and families impacted by child welfare. He has held administrative leadership positions in Tennessee and Maryland and most recently as Director of the Child and Family Services Agency for the District of Columbia. 

His career began by helping Tennessee expand kinship care best practices statewide. Robert has provided technical assistance at the Annie E. Casey foundation and supported reform initiatives in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Georgia. Robert helped D.C. become the first jurisdiction to have a plan approved by the U.S. Children’s Bureau to prevent unnecessary entry into foster care under the Family First Prevention Services Act. He was also responsible for leading the District in meeting the performance standards required to exit Federal Court oversight via the District’s 32-year LaShawn A. v. Bowser class-action lawsuit. As a state-level administrator, Robert has led nearly every aspect of child welfare services programs, including child protective services, foster parent recruitment, case management, family finding, crisis response, and jurisdiction-wide continuous quality improvement.

Robert is a resident of Washington, D.C. and a native of Nashville, TN. He currently serves as a mentor for African-American Executive & Emerging Child Welfare Leaders through the SANKOFA Institute and has been a national presenter for the 2019 and 2014 Child Welfare League of America Conference, 2014 National Family Foster Treatment Association Conference and the 2009 Black Administrators on Child Welfare Conference.  In collaboration with Casey Family Programs, Robert is a part of the Urban Child Welfare Leaders and serves as a panel expert for the Class Action Lawsuits Convening. 

Robert holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in Public Administration from Cumberland University.