15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Frances Ryan, L.C.S.W.
Department of Health and Human Services
Frances Ryan has made outstanding contributions to improving the lives of Maine's abused or neglected children. As Director of Special Projects for the Department of Health and Human Services, she often is called upon to tackle complex, multi-system cases and has contributed to a great number of successful initiatives that have enhanced safety, well-being, and permanency for children in State custody.
Her efforts in an initiative to return children placed in residential care outside Maine has resulted in more than 130 children coming back to placements in the State during the past five years. In this and other assignments, Ms. Ryan demonstrates her skills at collaboration and problem solving, working across multiple systems related to child welfare, behavioral health, corrections, and education. She has been especially effective in fostering collaboration between child welfare and children's behavioral health to support better outcomes for children. Ms. Ryan is credited with the leadership role of an initiative that transitioned children from psychiatric hospitals to successful community placements. Many of these situations involved cases where children had been hospitalized for significant periods of time.
Ms. Ryan also has a demonstrated record of leadership in creating permanency for children. Her initiative as a team leader in successful transitions of children from residential care to family homes has contributed directly to a reduction of children in residential care. She also dedicates her skills and leadership to creating more effective home-based interventions to prevent children from needing residential care.
Frances Ryan has played an integral role in Keeping Maine Kids Connected, an interagency protocol supporting greater educational success for Maine's foster children. Those who work closely with Ms. Ryan on these vital initiatives recognize her as a skilled problem solver and leader, committed to working collaboratively to find the best answers for children and families.