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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

  • Michael Byamukama, NASWU President and RESSPI Country Representative, Uganda
  • Jane Calder, Senior Child Protection Advisor, Save the Children UK, Asia Region
  • Dr. Rebecca Davis, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor for Professional Practice and Director of the Center for Global Social Work, School of Social Work, Rutgers University, United States
  • Kirsten Di Martino, Senior Child Protection Advisor, UNICEF Headquarters, New York
  • Aaron Greenberg, Child Protection Regional Advisor, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Switzerland
  • Carolyn Housman, CEO, Children and Families Across Borders, United Kingdom
  • Dr. James McCaffery, PhD, Senior Advisor, Training Resources Group, United States
  • Maury Mendenhall, MSW, Senior Technical Advisor, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Dr. Ian Milligan, International Advisor, CELCIS, Scotland
  • Dr. Heather Modlin, Provincial Director, Key Assets Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
  • Dr. Vishanthie Sewpaul, PhD, MSW, Emeritus Professor, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and Professor II, University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Dr. Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor of Social Work, Illinois State University
  • Dr. Nevenka Zegarac, PhD, Full Professor, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Michael Byamukama, NASWU President and RESSPI Country Representative, Uganda

Michael Byamukama is a social worker by profession and in addition to his REPSSI role as country representative, he is currently the president of the National Association of Social Workers Uganda. He has more than 20 years’ experience in networking and partnership development, social protection programming, psychosocial support programming, child policy review and formulation, and social service workforce advocacy at global, regional and national levels. Michael is member of global, regional and national child protection and mental health learning initiatives. He has reviewed and contributed to development of global and national policy documents and frameworks. He was part of the core team that developed and reviewed both regional and national para social worker training curriculum, psychosocial and child safeguarding curriculums. Currently, Michael is a member of the National Council for Higher Education Steering Committee developing the minimum standards for training and education of social workers in Uganda, including development of national generic curriculum. He has worked closely with and engaged CSOs, government and academic institutions for strengthening of the social work profession in Uganda. He is a leader and practitioner with progressive management experience with both international and regional organizations. Michael was a part of the first cohort of the Alliance Ambassador Program where he played a vital role in promotion of the social work profession at country and regional levels, also helping to develop and refine the Global Advocacy Toolkit and Call to Action for Strengthening the Social Service Workforce to Better Protect Children and Achieve the SDGs.

Jane Calder, Senior Child Protection Advisor, Save the Children UK, Asia Region

Jane has over 30 years of experience in working with vulnerable children, both in the UK and internationally. A social worker by profession, her experience includes work in both development and humanitarian contexts. She is considered a leading expert at Save the Children in social service workforce strengthening through establishing and strengthening national and local child protection systems. She has lived and worked in Scotland, Uganda, Tanzania and Vietnam and currently holds a regional role based out of Bangkok, providing direct support to child protection staff in India, China, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Thailand, as well as contributing significantly to the work of Save the Children more broadly at the global level. Through this role, Jane has established a competency-based approach to developing the workforce under the government’s child protection scheme in India and led a common approach to case management across Save the Children. She currently co-leads Save the Children’s global Task Group on Child Protection Systems in developing guidance for Save the Children as a whole, in child protection system strengthening. Jane was a part of the first cohort of the Alliance Ambassador Program where she played an integral role in helping to develop and refine the Global Advocacy Toolkit and Call to Action for Strengthening the Social Service Workforce to Better Protect Children and Achieve the SDGs.

Dr. Rebecca Davis, Associate Professor for Professional Practice and Director of the Office Global Programs, School of Social Work, Rutgers University, and Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance

Dr. Davis teaches social work foundation, clinical practice, and global social work courses. In addition, she supervises student field placements and directs global education abroad courses to Romania, Israel and Mexico. She represents the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) to the United Nations in the New York Headquarters. Her global work focuses on social work education and child protection system strengthening in Eastern Europe and Sub Saharan Africa. Her recent work included a social service workforce assessment in Eastern Europe, strengthening case management services in Nigeria, Malawi, Swaziland, and Namibia, and evaluation of child protection reforms in Ghana. She has developed a Case Management Toolkit for evaluating child welfare case management services in the former Soviet Bloc countries. She co-authored a working paper on Child Protection System Strengthening in Sub Saharan Africa for UNICEF (2012) and authored a working paper on Human Capacity Within Child Welfare Systems in Africa (2009). She served as a Fulbright Scholar to Romania from 1992-94 and implemented a major child welfare reform project for World Vision Romania and USAID in 1998-2002. She currently serves as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

Kirsten Di Martino, Senior Child Protection Advisor, UNICEF Headquarters

Kirsten has over 20 years of experience in human rights, child rights and child protection programme leadership and management, including 17 years of experience with UNICEF in Kosovo, Moldova, China, Lao PDR and more recently in Germany where she led UNICEF’s Refugee and Migrant Response. Kirsten has extensive experience in child protection systems strengthening, including policy and legislative reform. She has successfully advocated for and supported reforms at national level – many of which have been a first - to better protect children on issues such as prevention and response to violence against children, child justice, trafficking, migration, social welfare/social work and care reform/alternative care. Prior to UNICEF, Kirsten worked with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission, Defense for Children International, and the International Social Service. She holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Human Rights Law.

Aaron Greenberg, Child Protection Regional Advisor, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Switzerland

Aaron has recently joined the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia as child protection regional advisor. Prior to his new appointment, Aaron was chief of child protection in the UNICEF Myanmar office for four years where he oversaw UNICEF’s policy, legislative and programmatic support to the Government of Myanmar and non-governmental partners relating to justice for children, social welfare reforms, trafficking, extreme forms of child labor, migration, protection in emergencies and children and armed conflict. Previous to Myanmar, Aaron was the chief of protection for UNICEF in the Georgia Country Office for four years where, amongst other issues, he helped steer the child care and social work reforms, assisting the Government to close nearly all the large residential care facilities in the country and expand foster care and prevention services. Aaron has also worked in the Strategic Planning Unit of the United Nations Office of the Secretary General; at Columbia University's Center for International Organization and Security; and for the government in his hometown of New York City. He has an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Administration, and a B.A. in English Literature from Union College.

Carolyn Housman, CEO, Children and Families Across, United Kingdom

Carolyn is CEO of Children and Families Across Borders, the UK branch of International Social Service, which reunites vulnerable children separated from their families across international borders. She chairs the UK Cross-border Child Safeguarding Working Group and is a member of the UK Kinship Care Alliance, the BME Migrant Advisory Group and the Global Action on Relocation and Return with Kids. Previously, she was CEO of Heart of the City, the UK’s largest responsible small business network, where she worked alongside the Governor of the Bank of England and the Lord Mayor of London to harness business expertise for community development. She has worked for Amnesty International, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the Washington Office on Latin America as well as for the UK and American governments. She holds a BSc in International Law, Organisations and Ethics (Georgetown University), an MSc in International Relations (London School of Economics) and an MBA (Cass Business School).

Dr. James McCaffery, PhD, Senior Advisor, Training Resources Group

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 previously served as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

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. Ian Milligan, International Advisor, CELCIS, Scotland

Ian is involved in international policy and practice development in the field of 'Alternative care' - children who are in foster, kinship or residential care. He is one of the authors of Moving Forward: Implementing the UN Guidelines on the Alternative Care of Children, published in 2013 and now translated into 6 languages including Russian and Chinese (Mandarin). With CELCIS colleagues, and other Scottish experts, Ian has provided consultancy, research, evaluation and training services in a number of countries. As International lead for CELCIS, Ian is involved in building  partnerships with  UNICEF, NGOs and academic institutions to develop policy and increase the knowledge and skills of child welfare professionals across the world. Ian has acted as a consultant to the Scottish and UK governments. Ian has research interests in many aspects of policy and practice concerning residential and foster care and related areas such as the training of care staff and social workers. With colleagues he has written and edited text-books on residential child care for social work students and others involved with 'looked after' children. He is closely associated with developments in social pedagogy in the UK and has contributed to a number of evaluations. He is also interested in inter-professional collaboration.

Dr. Heather Modlin, Provincial Director, Key Assets Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Heather has worked with young people in residential care for over 30 years. She is currently director of Key Assets, an organization providing residential and family-based care to children and youth. Heather is a former president of the Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations and the Child and Youth Care Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, a founding board member of the Child and Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board of Canada, a board member of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board and the International Child and Youth Care Network, and an editorial board member of the Relational Child and Youth Care Practice journal. Heather has an MSc in Child and Youth Care Administration from Nova Southeastern University and a PhD in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, where she is also a sessional instructor. In 2017, Heather received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Community and Social Development in Newfoundland and Labrador and in 2018 she was the Atlantic Canada nominee for the RBC Women of Influence Social Change Award.

Dr. Vishanthie Sewpaul, PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and Professor II, University of Stavanger, Norway

Dr. Sewpaul took up a professorship position in the College of Education, Zayed University in January 2016. Prior to this, she was a Senior Professor at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where she remains an Emeritus Professor. She was actively involved in several national structures on the cutting edge of policy and social work education in post-apartheid South Africa, and has occupied leadership positions at national, regional and global levels. Dr Sewpaul joined the Board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work in 2000 where she chaired several committees, and she currently chairs the Global Social Work Ethics Taskforce. She has published widely, serves as either reviewer or advisory board member of several journals, as external examiner at several international institutions, and has delivered numerous keynote and plenary addresses in many countries. The Ministry of Science and Technology awarded her a Distinguished Women in Science Award in 2013. She has received two honorary doctoral degrees – from Sweden and Chile, and was nominated as a Lead SA Hero for her contribution to community development through direct interventions, and though her teaching. She has worked extensively in the fields of mental health, HIV/AIDS, and children in difficult circumstances, particularly children and youth living on the streets. Social work practice and teaching with a focus on social justice, human rights and emancipatory education remain her passion.

Dr. Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor of Social Work, Illinois State University, USA

Dr. Wehrmann serves as the Bachelor of Social Work Program Director at the university. Her professional background also includes work in Illinois’ public child welfare system and serving as a consultant on a variety of child welfare projects and programs. She has developed child protection training programs for several cohorts of Romanian officials and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Bucharest and had subsequent grants to carry out special projects. Her research interests relate to program evaluation of child welfare and adolescent mental health programs. For the last several years she has taught practice evaluation and field education at the MSW level. Dr. Wehrmann is currently serving as the president of the NASW National Board and is a member of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Executive Committee in her role as vice president of the IFSW North American Region. 

Dr. Nevenka Zegarac, PhD, Full Professor, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Dr. Zegarac is a full professor and director of the MA Social Work program at the Department of Social Work and Social Policy, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. She teaches social work with children and youth, case management, and qualitative approaches in social work research. She has extensive experience in development and delivery of trainings for frontline practitioners and training of trainers. Nevenka has more than 20 years of experience of consultancy in the West Balkan region with governments and international organizations including UNICEF, Save the Children, Terre de Hommes, IOM, UNDP and ILO. Her areas of interests include: case management, child abuse and neglect, children on alternative care, family support, child trafficking, child’s participation and professional development of social service workforce. Dr. Zegarac was engaged in the establishment and development of the Chamber of Social Protection Professionals in Serbia, prepared a Code of Ethics, serving as the president of the Chamber Expert Council in two consecutive terms. She is author of six, editor of five and co-author of 10 social work books, more than 30 chapters in monographs and handbooks. Her work has appeared in 15 journals including Social Work Education, Children’s Geographies, Child and Family Social Work, and Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare.