Jean K. Elder, Ph.D, Principle Partner and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Elder has been engaged in best practice and policy development in human services for more than 40 years. Prior to founding JKE&A in May, 2007, Dr. Elder served as an Assistant Secretary, Office of Human Development Services, and as Commissioner for the Administration of Developmental Disabilities, both part of the United States Department of Human Services. Additionally, she held positions as the Deputy Director, Michigan Department of Mental Health; Vice President of Marketing and Governmental Relations, Council on Accreditation for Children and Families; and Senior Vice President, Children Welfare Division, MAXIMUS Corporation

During her tenure at HHS, Dr. Elder led an initiative to raise national awareness of the critical need for adoptive homes for children with Downs Syndrome and other special needs. She also led international work focused on mirroring U.S. child and family services, developmental disabilities, aging services, and Native American services policies specifically in Israel and India using a study team model funded in part by the American Jewish Council and the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies. American and Israeli experts hailed her work as an "unprecedented expert meeting" that also led to employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Through this work, Dr. Elder was instrumental in initiating national policy changes and program direction to facilitate the employment of persons who are severely disabled.

Dr. Elder was also chosen, through the American Association on Mental Retardation, to serve as one of three delegates from the U.S. to the International Association of Scientific Study of Mental Deficiency (1985-1988). She received the Ravenswood Award in London in 1987 in recognition of her work to improve hiring of persons with disabilities. The Ravenswood - International Awards recognize an individual or group contribution to the improvement of the quality of life for adults who are severely or profoundly mentally handicapped.

While at COA, Dr. Elder initiated a study of and work on domestic and transnational adoption practices and standards. A significant outcome of this project was the creation of one U.S. "voice" in Hague discussions, as opposed to the historical coalitions of private attorneys representing wealthier adoptive parents, private attorneys completing public adoptions, and state adoption programs. This effort led to eventual development of COA Standards that, in time, became accepted as the body of Hague Accreditation Standards for transnational adoption.

Dr. Elder's ongoing professional focus involves connecting applied research to the implementation of best practice, which results in improving the lives of children and families. With her extensive background and experience in child welfare policy development and best practice standards and evaluation, Dr. Elder has proven to be a valuable resource to numerous child welfare agencies and States as they engage in system redesign with the goals of improving service delivery and outcomes for children and families in need in their communities. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Education and Development Psychology from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral studies in Organizational Development at the University of Wisconsin.

Beth Englander Maida, Partner and Chief Operating Officer

Ms. Maida has more than 36 years experience with operation and administration of child welfare and social services programs across the continuum of federal, state, private (secular and faith-based), and international environments. Prior to joining JKE&A in 2014, she served as a multi-county Child Welfare Administrator, and the state Child Protectives Services and System of Care Program Manager, all for the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS); statewide Child Welfare Administrator for the Florida Department of Children and Families; state Child and Family Services Review Project Manager, ICF International; state Adoption and Guardianship Program Manager for Oregon DHS; Director of Special Programs (Unaccompanied Refugee Children, Unaccompanied Minors, Anti-Trafficking, and Bridging Refugee Youth and Children Services), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Migration and Refugee Services); and Director of Family Stabilization programs, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Known for her ability to move distressed social services programs to high performers, Ms. Maida's experience includes program and policy leadership for privatization of the Florida child welfare system, management of community juvenile justice programs; management of a successful state foster care litigation response, and administration of the largest, international Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program and a companion family reunification program for unaccompanied minors. Her work also included management of the senior consulting/technical assistance team the the HHS Children's Bureau state Child and Family Services Reviews, with ensuing responsibility for analysis of review findings, delivery of final state reports, and consulting with states developing Program Improvement Plans.

Her strengths include project management; program evaluation, reporting, and improvement; systems change design and implementation; proposal capture and writing; child and family trauma and sexual abuse, personnel management; state and federal systems and legislative process; accreditation (COA and CARF); practice supervision; ICWA; forced child migration and OVC deinstitutionalization; and family poverty.

Ms. Maida was instrumental to Oregon receiving the national Voice For Adoption award for efforts to put the Intercountry Adoption Act into legislation and she received special citations for her work toward federal approval of Florida's IV-E Waiver, leadership of Oregon's System of Care reforms, state-tribal relations in Oregon (co-authoring the first DHS-Tribe ICWA agreement and assisted a tribal court to write its tribal dependency and delinquency code). She served on the National Association of Professional Child Welfare Administrators Executive Committee, as a mentoring for the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Institute, and assisted with writing a primer for social workers on Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, and participated in development of significant legislation in two states.

Ms. Maida's professional focus is the comprehensive assessment of opportunities and risks for organizations and identification of evidence-based practice and systemic solutions that translate to delivery of a System of Care that creates sustainable, positive outcomes for children, families, and communities. She has lived and traveled extensively around the globe. Ms. Maida holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, completed post-graduate studies in Organizational Policy and Management at the University of Oregon, and completed the Luke Center for Catalytic Leadership's Pacific Program.