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Alliance Steering Committee Members

The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance’s Steering Committee oversees and guides the direction and development of the Alliance. Members provide strategic direction, represent and promote the Alliance, make ongoing contributions to Alliance work, oversee membership processes and oversee the Secretariat. Steering Committee members participate in strategic planning and decision making and promote the Alliance’s vision of a world where a well-planned, well-trained and well-supported social service workforce effectively delivers promising practices that improve the lives of vulnerable populations. 

Committee Members

Mr. Peter Gross, MSc, MA, Child Protection Specialist for Alternative Care, UNICEF

Mr. Peter Gross is the Child Protection Specialist for Alternative Care at UNICEF Headquarters responsible for strengthening alternative care for children within a child protection systems approach. His focus has been on connecting policy and practice, reviewing institutional structures and administrative and legal frameworks, budget analysis, and developing social protection policy and programmes. In his career he has worked in the Scottish social services system, the British cash transfer system, the Scottish Health Department, as well as a social policy consultant in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia and Rwanda, before joining UNICEF in Botswana prior to moving to UNICEF HQ. He holds master's degrees in social policy, social sciences and psychology.

Dr. Nathan L. Linsk, PhD, Professor of Social Work in Family Medicine, Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Linsk is founder and currently co-investigator of the seven state Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center. Dr. Linsk’s research areas include HIV, long term care, family care, older adults and HIV, medication adherence issues and health professional training.  Dr. Linsk has helped developed social work educational programs, case management programs and para-social work training for orphans and vulnerable children in several countries including the US, Romania, Ethiopia and Tanzania. He has led two HIV Twinning Center projects, partnering with the Jane Addams College of Social Work and the Institute of Social Work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Addis Ababa University School of Social Work.  The Twinning Center work was aimed at developing competencies for para-professionals to provide basic social services to vulnerable children and adults who are HIV affected. Dr. Linsk is founding co-Editor of the Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services, 2001-present.

Dr. Bernadette J. Madrid, MD, Executive Director of the Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Madrid is Executive Director of the Child Protection Network Foundation, an NGO that supports the training of Child Protection Professionals and the development of Child Protection Units in the Philippines. She is also the Head of the Child Protection Unit of the University of the Philippines Manila -Philippine General Hospital where she is concurrently Associate Clinical Professor in Pediatrics. The UP Manila Child Protection Unit at the Philippine General Hospital has been cited as best practice by the UN Secretary General’s Report on Children and Violence.  She has been awarded as one of the Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service in 2001 for her work in child protection.  She was one of the Five Most Outstanding Philippine Doctors for 2004, an award given by the Jaycees together with the Department of Health and the World Health Organization.  In April 2009 she was awarded as one of the Outstanding Woman Leaders of the City of Manila by the Soroptimists and the City of Manila. She is a member of several government committees that cut across health, social welfare, law enforcement and the judiciary. She is Professorial Lecturer II of the Philippine Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. She was the first President of the Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association. She has been elected to the Executive Council of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect  from 2004-2010.  On March 21, 2012 she was given the Outstanding Service Award for Child Protective Services by the National Children’s Advocacy Center during their National Symposium in Alabama, USA. She was awarded as the “Outstanding Alumni for Health” by her alma mater, the University of the Philippines, in its centennial celebration on June 21, 2008 and again last June 2013, she was given the “Most Distinguished Alumnus Award for Service’ by an individual by the UP Alumni Association also in its centennial year.  

Mr. Patrick Onyango Mangen, Country Director, TPO Uganda

Mr. Onyango is a social development practitioner who has worked in the child protection and child rights sector for over 15 years now. Mr Onyango’s most recent interest and experience is focused on strengthening the role of indigenous community based structures in child protection work. His systems strengthening work has included building capacity of formal as well as informal caregivers of children through multi-tiered professional child protection training programs. Mr. Onyango is currently the Country Director of TPO Uganda, a national Ugandan non-governmental organization.   

Dr. Robin Sakina Mama, PhD, Professor and Dean, Monmouth University School of Social Work

Dr. Mama is Dean of the School of Social Work at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She received her BSW degree from College Misericordia in Pennsylvania and her Master of Social Service, Master of Law and Social Policy and PhD in Social Work and Social Research degrees from Bryn Mawr College. For 10 years, Dr. Mama was a staff member at the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, a labor organization that worked for better health and safety conditions for workers and unions in the tri-state Delaware Valley area. A full professor at Monmouth, Dr. Mama recently taught in the International and Community Development concentration of the MSW program. Her teaching and research interests are in human rights, field education, international social development and international social work. Dr. Mama serves as the representative of the International Federation of Social Workers to the United Nations in New York City.

Dr. James McCaffery, PhD, Senior Advisor, Training Resources Group and Steering Committee chairperson

Dr. McCaffery has over 30 years of development experience providing technical leadership, capacity building and system strengthening program assistance in a wide variety of settings. While his work is often cross-sectoral in nature, he has had a particular focus on leading and managing health and social service workforce system strengthening programs. For the last 15 years he has helped lead and provide technical guidance and oversight for the three major global projects aimed at improving the health and social service workforce in resource poor settings. Dr. McCaffery has written numerous guideline documents for implementing promising practices in organizational development, capacity building and system strengthening. In 2012, he was the team leader responsible for developing with a broad range of partners (including UNICEF, Save the Children International, World Vision International and Plan International) a key document entitled Strengthening Child Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Working Paper. In the HRH strengthening sector, he addressed the critical system strengthening area of taking and sustaining action in a document entitled ‘Overcoming the Hurdle of Implementation: Putting Human Resources for Health Tools into Action’ (Special HRH edition of Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2011; 28(2): 316-22). Dr. McCaffery is a founding TRG partner and has played a major role in growing TRG into a well-respected organization development consulting firm. He is currently the Chair of the Steering Committee for the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

Ms. Maury Mendenhall, MSW, Senior Technical Advisor, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, United States Agency for International Development

Since 2009, Maury Mendenhall has served as a Senior Technical Advisor for USAID's Office of HIV and AIDS, specializing in programming to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on Orphans and Vulnerable Children. In this capacity, she works in collaboration with US Government country teams to support project design, management, and strategic planning processes. She is responsible for strengthening the technical capacity of host governments, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations, to address the multi-dimensional needs of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and other adversities. Her areas of expertise include social service system strengthening and child protection. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Mendenhall worked as a Senior Technical Specialist for the Child and Youth Program at World Learning, the Emergency Child and Youth Protection and Development Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee, a Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF in Southern Sudan and as a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Labor's International Child Labor Program.

Dr. Natia Partskhaladze, MD, MSW, Chairperson, Georgian Association of Social Workers

Natia Partskhaladze, MD, MSW has 15 years of experience in the field of child care and social protection system strengthening work, both at the policy and programming level. Dr. Partskhaladze is a founder and a Board member of the Georgian Association of Social Workers, a professional organization supporting the development of the social work profession and social services in different fields and uniting almost 600 social workers and other social service professionals. Dr. Partskhaladze worked for UNICEF Georgia, where as a Senior National Child Protection Specialist she has contributed toward developing the child protection system and implementing child care system reform, resulting in development of preventive and alternative care services and deinstitutionalization of the system. Natia has also worked in the UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva, where her aim was to contribute to the development of national capacities of social workers and social service workforce needed for developing responsive child and social protection systems. Dr. Partskhaladze has a proven track record of providing strategic support to government partners in developing and implementing sustainable programs to reach highly vulnerable groups, convening and effectively coordinating work of state and non-state actors in child care and social protection sectors. She has earned degrees from the leading schools in the United States, Europe and Georgia. She is presently working on PhD research on the Quality of Life of Deinstitutionalized Children in Alternative out-of-home Care.

Ms. Susan Rubin, MBA, MA, Assistant Director, National Association of Social Workers Foundation, U.S.

Susan Rubin is Assistant Director of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation, the 501(c)3 organization created to support NASW’s educational and charitable initiatives and to advance social work policy and practice. Prior to working at the Foundation, Susan served as Director of NASW’s Professional Development and Marketing Development and as Associate Director of Marketing for the American Association of University Women. As a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangkok, Thailand, she worked with the Women Lawyer’s Association of Thailand and the Asian and Pacific Centre for Women and Development. As a Management Consultant in Beijing, China, she worked with the All-China Women’s Federation and an American co-sponsor on the first major bilateral conference following Tiananmen. Experience includes extensive management and program development in the non-profit sector in the United States, as well as overseas.

Ms. Zenuella (Zeni) Sugantha Thumbadoo, Deputy Director, National Association of Child Care Workers, South Africa

Ms. Zeni Thumbadoo has dedicated her working life to the children’s sector in South Africa – in direct service provision, contributing to children’s policy and legislation, advocacy and model development. She has worked in a children’s home; as a consultant to the Department of Social Development; as a trainer in child and youth care work; and as a coordinator of a process of piloting of innovative projects linked to transformed policy in the building of children’s services in the democratic South Africa. Since 1997 she has worked as the Deputy Director of the National Association of Child Care Workers. She has contributed to the professionalization of child and youth care work through the following actions: Spearheading various advocacy campaigns linked to the statutory recognition of the child and youth care field; serving on the Standards Generating Body for Child and Youth Care Work which developed national standards for the training of child and youth care workers; serving on the statutory regulatory body, the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care; and representing South African child and youth care work in various national and international forums. Zeni is currently further championing the recognition of child and youth care work through the national scale up of the Isibindi model which aims to develop 10,000 child and youth care workers serving 1.4 million children in a five year period. Zeni completed her Master’s degree in child and youth care work with distinction. She serves as the Vice Chair on the Steering Committee of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and Vice Chair on the Professional Board of Child and Youth Care Work in South Africa. Zeni is also a honourary lecturer at the Durban University of Technology in South Africa.