A nationally renowned child welfare practice and policy expert and former legislator is joining the leadership staff at Saint Francis Community Services.
According to the organization, Dr. Page B. Walley is the Chief Public Policy and Community Engagement Officer.
“Dr. Walley is an internationally respected psychologist, minister and child welfare advocate who has had a hands-on role working with executive, legislative, and judicial leaders to shape public policy and practice in multiple states. He is a consensus builder whose expertise resonates among those policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels. Saint Francis is delighted to have him spearheading our advocacy efforts,” said the Very Reverend Robert N. Smith, Dean and CEO of Saint Francis Community Services.
“Saint Francis has a long-distinguished history of helping children and families flourish by transforming child welfare practices and systems,” Smith continued. “Dr. Walley will be forging partnerships between Saint Francis and academia, governmental entities, law enforcement, judiciary, schools and other faith-based groups to bring similar transformational changes to communities across America and to countries abroad.”
From 2008 – 2018, Walley served as Managing Director of Strategic Consulting for Casey Family Programs, assisting government, philanthropic and community stakeholders across America to strengthen families and communities and safely keep or return children to permanent, loving homes.
“Working in communities across the country for the past decade, I can attest that many places struggle to effectively address the needs of children and families,” Walley said. “Many communities are calling on organizations to join them in serving those in need, and Saint Francis is answering that call. Saint Francis has a remarkable record of marshaling hope for children and families, and working with governmental and community partners on ways to achieve it.
“My first priority will be to sit down with officials across the country and listen to what they need in order to best serve vulnerable children and families – particularly as it relates to the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act,” Walley continued. “Signed into law this past February, the act reforms federal child welfare financing. Under the new guidelines, states and communities should have greater resources available to strengthen families before they are torn apart by preventable child removals. That’s a far better outcome than trying to pick up and reconnect the pieces after lives have been shattered.”
Added Smith, “Some of the greatest challenges for foster care today stem from the breakdown of community. We believe strongly that strengthening the fabric of a community strengthens the families who live there. The Family First Prevention Services Act is the catalyst by which we can broaden the conversation about communities and families, and bring about positive change for both.”
As a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1990 – 2000, Walley led bi-partisan efforts to improve the state’s child welfare and mental health programs. After leaving the Legislature, he served first as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, then as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs and later as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Services. In Alabama, he helped advance the department to national recognition as a leader in providing for the safety, permanency placement, and well-being of children and families.
Walley is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 34 years’ experience in the field, and is also a licensed minister. Walley received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina and received his master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia.
Walley and his wife, Terry, have three children and three grandchildren.