Wash. Child Welfare Chief Tapped to Lead Families International, Alliance for Children and Families

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Veteran child welfare director Susan Dreyfus will be the new CEO of Milwaukee-based Families International, whose longtime leader Peter Goldberg died of a heart attack in August.

Families International (FEI) operates the Alliance for Children and Families, one of the largest membership organizations in the country for youth-serving nonprofits.

Dreyfus, who is currently the secretary of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, will remain in her position until January, according to a statement yesterday from Gov. Chris Gregoire (D).

Dreyfus served as Goldberg’s chief operating officer for five years between 2002 and 2007. Before joining FEI the first time, she had led the Wisconsin Division of Children and Families since 1996.

FEI also operates United Neighborhood Centers of America, FEI Behavioral Health and Ways to Work, which provides loans to credit-challenged poor families through members of the Alliance.

The hire gives FEI a high-profile leader who has a deep working knowledge of its day-to-day functions, just months after losing Goldberg, one of the most iconic leaders in youth work.

“This is the exact right fit at the right time for this group of organizations,” said Richard Cohen, chairman of the FEI board.  “I fully expect her to hit the ground running.”

Goldberg “was a dear friend and mentor,” Dreyfus said in a statement. “I am a better leader because of Peter, and I feel I am ready to take on this position because of him and the work I have done in Washington State with Gov. Gregoire.”