Recognized and respected for their expertise in trauma and adversity, Children & Families First (CFF) took another bold step forward to lead positive change on November 28, 2022 – welcoming Dr. Julius Mullen back to the organization as its first Chief Inclusion Officer.
“Building a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future for CFF and for the communities we serve requires that we hold ourselves accountable for the change we want to see,” stated Kirsten Olson, Chief Executive Officer, “Dr. Mullen’s breadth of experience leading trauma-informed care initiatives, and his knowledge of culturally responsive ideologies will be important tools as we continue to formalize and operationalize our commitment to equity at its intersection with trauma-informed care.”
Prior to being named Chief Inclusion Officer, Dr. Mullen served as CFF’s Chief Clinical Officer for more than 15 years, the Executive Director for the Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence for one year, and continues to lead Impact Delaware, a non-profit mentoring organization co-created with his spouse, Natasha Mullen to help youth ages 10 to 25 overcome challenges caused by trauma and adversity. “Utilizing a variety of professional platforms, I’ve spent nearly three decades of my life dedicated helping others to recognize their trauma, identify their strengths, and heal towards a promising future, and I have loved every minute of it. In returning to CFF, I am especially excited to hear the enthusiasm, ideas, and progress made thus far on the agency’s equity journey, which has been largely employee driven. What an honor is it is to rejoin a team of talented, compassionate, and committed professionals.”
Protecting and ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of all children and families has been the core of CFF’s work for more than 138 years. Acknowledging the ongoing negative impact and intergenerational trauma caused by unaddressed systemic racial and social inequities, CFF established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee in 2020 and named Edgard Martinez as the organization’s first EDI Manager. Comprised of staff and led by Martinez, CFF’s EDI Committee has made significant strides including, amongst many others, a monthly EDI focused newsletter sharing knowledge and resources; quarterly webinars with topic-specific experts to build cultural humility and empower solutions; advocating for inclusive policies that have led to Juneteenth to being recognized as an official organizational holiday; and empowering individual voice with the establishment of paid time off for staff to participate in elections. “I am proud of the accountability and action CFF continues to take,” stated Martinez, “I am confident that Dr. Mullen’s strategic and operational leadership will further strengthen our long-range work and success.”
In his role, Dr. Mullen will partner with agency leaders throughout the organization to build upon several strategic priorities. Dr. Mullen will work with the Children & Families First leadership team, staff, consumers, and community stakeholders to further embed EDI into every aspect of the organization, including service delivery, human resources, and governance. He will also assist with cultivating an organizational cultural driven by compassion while ensuring professional accountability at all levels of the organization. Mullen will also expand on the agency’s professional learning landscape in alignment with trauma informed care, brain science and other pedagogical methodologies. “My role is to learn about what’s going well and understand the challenges to gather supports – be it through empirical research, best practices from colleagues around the globe, or our internal intellectual capital,” explained Mullen, “This is not a career move for me, this is career alignment. This is the very core of who I am, and I love that this opportunity allows me to further dedicate myself to working collaboratively with many others so all people can have what they need to be successful despite any demographic identity, lived experience or any other life circumstance.”
Research proves, when our children and families have the opportunity to reach their full potential our whole community grows stronger. It is the mission of Children & Families First to champion children and families using evidence-based, equity-centered, and innovative approaches to build diverse, healthy, and resilient communities where all children and families thrive. For more information about Children & Families First, including employment opportunities statewide please visit www.cffde.org/
ABOUT CHILDREN & FAMILIES FIRST: Established in 1884, Children & Families First is one of Delaware’s oldest and most trusted non-profit leaders in meeting the needs of children and their families. Using brain science research as the foundation of our framework, we operate statewide, engaging more than 20,000 individuals each year in programs and supports proven to prevent, intervene, and heal the immediate and lasting negative impacts caused by toxic stress and trauma. Our continuum of services includes home visiting for pregnant women, early childhood education, parenting education and family crisis intervention, foster care and adoption, in school supports for children and teens, and community resource centers. To learn more about how our name is our promise please visit: www.cffde.org.