Paul Johnson Curtis,
Paul Johnson Curtis has practiced in community social services, youth services, and child welfare services for nearly forty years. During this period, he has developed a finely honed personal sense of which service delivery approaches will work and which will not. His personal and professional orientation toward child welfare practice reflects all that has been learned nationally over the past 30 years: assuring child safety is paramount; engaging the parent in a helping relationship increases safety; and empowering parents with alternatives, choices, and options helps them to make good decisions.
With this personal orientation, it is not surprising that Mr. Curtis was an early proponent of family-centered practice, basing child welfare staff in the schools, family support centers, family group conferencing, and multiple track responses to allegations of child maltreatment. His strong orientation to prevention and early intervention means that the communities and neighborhoods under his administration have flourished as safe havens for all children and families, particularly those who have come to the attention of the public child welfare agency. The outcomes achieved by Mr. Curtis' leadership reflect high rates of safety through early intervention, low rates of recurrence of maltreatment after intervention, and exceptionally low rates of use of out-of-home care. The outcomes have been achieved in a service area serving over 400,000 Utah residents.
Despite his strong sense of what works, he does not claim or assert privilege that comes from possessing age or experience. He interacts with each community partner with integrity and respect. He listens to their ideas and reflects back their fears and concerns. His successes as a leader stem from being a collaborator, and the communities he serves have a wider array of resources as a result of Mr. Curtis' ability to team well with others.
Mr. Curtis serves as a mentor to young child welfare social workers. His model of social work practices and values in dealing with others has launched and sustained many productive careers. People have stayed in the difficult practice of public child welfare as a result of his example and leadership.
Mr. Curtis has worked for the Utah Department of Human Services for 19 years, the last six of which as the Regional Director for the Western Region. He is involved with many community groups, including the School of Social Work Advisory Council at Brigham Young University and the Children's Justice Center Board.