Christine Stoner-Mertz is the new executive director at the California Alliance of Child and Family Services (California Alliance). She succeeds Carroll Schroeder, who is stepping down after leading the 140-member association of organizations providing services to vulnerable children, youth and families throughout the state for the 18 years since it was first formed.
Stoner-Mertz arrives at California Alliance with executive experience in spades. She joins directly after a long executive stint herself, having served as president and CEO of a California Alliance member organization, Lincoln Families, for more than 13 years as it grew from a small residential service-based organization to one which provides an array of community and school-based services to children and youth up to age 21 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Prior to this, Stoner-Mertz served as the owner and CEO of inFocus Consulting and Development, LLC for six years after founding it in 1999. With this organization, she provided consultation and advice to more than 50 private behavioral healthcare providers, the California State Department of Mental Health, several county health departments and numerous school districts to help improve outcomes for millions of beneficiaries. She is also credited with the development of the Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Services Manual.
Stoner-Mertz has spent her career leading from the front, launching it by immediately co-founding Seneca Center (now Seneca Family Agencies) in 1985 after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Wooster and a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan. She would serve as its executive director for nearly 15 years, instrumental in almost all aspects of the organization’s growth and success, until her decision to found and lead inFocus.
In addition to all of her executive work, Stoner-Mertz has also served on the boards of numerous organizations. These include, coincidentally, the California Alliance, but also the California Council of Behavioral Health Agencies and the National Council of Behavioral Health Organizations.
Since it was formed by the merger of the California Association of Children’s Homes and the California Association of Services for Children, the California Alliance of Child and Family Services has been under the successful and careful guidance of Carroll Schroeder. Beginning in Jan. 2019, Chris Stoner-Mertz will lead the organization on a new path in its mission to continually improve outcomes for children, youth and families across the state.