16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Joyce James, LMSW-AP
For more than 27 years, Joyce James has provided dedicated services to children and families suffering the effects of child abuse and neglect. Currently, she leads the Texas child welfare system in the capacity of Assistant Commissioner for Child Protective Services. With Ms. James as Assistant Commissioner, Texas has renewed its commitment to families and children, as evident in the tremendous increase in adoptions, the strengthening of kinship caregiver support, and the inclusion of the youth and parent voice. Her leadership inspires and provides the backbone for the CPS mission statement—“Children First: Protected and Connected.”
Ms. James also has served on multiple oversight committees and boards of directors of organizations in the fields of child welfare, adoption, and advocacy. She is the founder of Project HOPE, Helping Our People Excel—a community initiative bringing multiple human service agencies together to focus on the over-representation of African American children in foster care and juvenile probation within Jefferson County. Now replicated in five additional sites, Ms. James works to promote this effective and collaborative model statewide.
To build on a shared vision and commitment to examine disproportionality and cultural insensitivity in the Texas child welfare system, Ms. James advocated for the creation of a close working relationship between Casey Family Programs and Child Protective Services. She has addressed the Texas legislature regarding her concern about the disproportionality of African American children in the Child Protective Services system, advocating for the agency to take a close look at policies, practices, and procedures that may contribute to disparity. Her advocacy contributed to mandated provisions in Senate Bill 6 by the 79th Texas legislature requiring system improvements specific to addressing disproportionality. Ms. James provides the strong and innovative leadership necessary to confront institutional racism and improve outcomes for all children. She has been honored nationally for her leadership in the area of disproportionality with the Villeria Bullard Black Administrator of the Year Award in 2006 and the Director's Award of the Family Preservation Institute of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.
A lifelong advocate on behalf of children and families, Joyce James embodies the vision and values of Child Protective Services.