Big news from the Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) - Jane Walker has been hired as Executive Director. Jane has a long history of strong family advocacy in Maryland as well as critical involvement with the early formation of the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (back in the day when we were all youngins'). We at the Network couldn't think of a better choice to help move FREDLA into national prominence as the voice for Executive Directors of family organizations across the country.
Enjoy reminiscing with this picture of Jane (pointing her out with our arrow) leading a session at the Next Steps conference in 1988. This was the meeting that kicked off the early thinking about a national family organization that became known as the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. She was a leader then and she is a leader now. Welcome Jane!
Thomas Dillingham, President of the Board of Directors of the Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) is pleased to announce that Jane Walker has been hired as the first Executive Director of FREDLA.
Jane is the founder and former Executive Director of the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the statewide family network in Maryland. She brings 30 years’ experience in the non-profit world and most importantly 30+ years caring for her daughter, Cathy, who experienced mental health challenges at a very young age. At age 12, Cathy was sent out-of-state to residential programs until she aged out of the system. The lack of availability of community resources, and the feeling of helplessness and isolation, is what prompted Ms. Walker to organize a family support group in her community. In 1999, the Mental Hygiene Administration in Maryland provided funding to establish a statewide family organization. Jane was hired as the first executive director and from one person grew the organization to 45 family member staff who provide peer-to-peer support to other families in similar situations. Ms. Walker was a founder of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and served as the President of the Board from 1993-95. Jane has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Master’s Degree in Social Work form the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
When asked about FREDLA’s future, Jane responded that “FREDLA is about strengthening the leadership and organizational capacity of family-run organizations. For the last 25 years, Systems of Care have promoted the value of family voice at all levels of the system. However, family-run organizations often struggle to survive. FREDLA’s mission is to change that. I look forward to working with the dynamic leaders of family-run organizations across the country and together elevating the visibility and impact of family- run organizations for our children and families.”