Our experts and advisors are leaders in their fields. They will help ensure the precision, balance, and accuracy by reviewing the treatment and various rough cuts for comments.
Alan Dettlaff is a prominent critic of child welfare systems. Starting his career as a child protection investigator, he has served as Dean of Social Work at the University of Houston and is a founding member of the upend movement, which advocates the abolition of the child welfare system. Dettlaff will provide his perspective as a former social worker and as a respected researcher/academic.
Amanda Wallace is a former child abuse investigator for Durham County, NC, and she now leads Operation STOP CPS. The grassroots activism organization aims to curtail CPS involvement and promote community-based interventions for families. Amanda will bring her experience navigating systemic racism as a Black woman, and also her experience as a former investigator and current activist.
Bill Bettencourt is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. He is also the former Deputy Director of San Francisco’s Division of Children Youth and Families. At the Center for the Study of Social Policy, part of Bettencourt’s job was to examine different child welfare systems for possible reforms, and he will provide those insights to the film.
Caroline Clauss-Ehlers is Professor of Psychology at Long Island University. Her research focuses on cultural resilience, trauma, and work with children and families within diverse community contexts. CC is an American Psychological Association (APA) Fellow in the Society for Couple and Family Psychology. She served as Chair of the APA Task Force on Re-envisioning the Multicultural Guidelines.
Dr. Carolyn Newberger’s professional writings have appeared in professional journals, books, popular magazines, and newspapers. Her writings include work on parental conceptions and development as well as analyses of the state of American children, research reports on studies of children that have been abused, and commentary on issues leading to and deriving from the abuses of children. She has also appeared widely on local and national television, including two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Deidra Brooks is the Director of Outreach and Programs for JMac for Families. She leads their H.E.A.L. program, which provides support and empowerment to system-involved parents. She also holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. From this experience, she will bring a deep knowledge of the emotional impacts of system involvement.
Dr. Eli Newberger is a pediatrician and prolific expert on child abuse since he established the first ever child protection unit in Boston Children’s Hospital 50 years ago. Currently, he serves as a pediatric medical consultant and testifies in trials nationwide. Dr. Newberger will speak to the early days of the department and the medical implications of child abuse and the impact of removing kids from their homes.
Gary Bailey is the Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and Social Justice at the Simmons University School of Social Work where he has also taught for nearly 30 years. He has served as the president of the International Federation of Social Workers and as the president of the National Association of Social Workers.
Irene Linda Gordon is an award winning historian and writer, focusing primarily on feminism and women’s issues. Pitied But Not Entitled, her history of welfare, won the Berkshire Prize for best book in women's history. She served on the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women during the Clinton administration. She brings her insights into the history of family violence to the film.
Judge Jay Blitzman (ret.) served as First Justice-Massachusetts Juvenile Court. He has written about the inequity and lack of transparency in juvenile court. He is a co-founder of Citizens for Juvenile Justice and was Interim Executive Director of Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Judge Blitzman will speak on his experiences working within the child welfare system as well as his advocacy work.
Josh Gupta-Kagan is a clinical law professor at Columbia University, and the director and founder of their Family Defense Clinic, which represents parents and other caregivers facing allegations of child neglect or abuse. He is also a noted researcher on the gaps and biases in child neglect and abuse law. Gupta-Kagan will bring insights into the legal processes that shape the child welfare system.
Joyce McMillan is a thought leader, advocate, activist, community organizer, and educator. Her mission is to remove systemic barriers in communities of color by bringing awareness to the racial disparities in systems where people of color are disproportionately affected. She is the executive director of JMAC for Families, which works to abolish the current punitive child welfare system and to strengthen the systems of supports that keep families and communities together.
Kate Lowenstein is the Multisystem Youth Services Coordinator for Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit advocating for statewide systemic reform that achieves equitable youth justice. She holds a joint J.D/M.S.W from the Catholic University of America. Lowenstein will speak to the intersection of the child welfare system and the criminal justice system.
Martha Raimon of the Center for the Study of Social Policy leads the team's monitoring of New Jersey’s compliance with a consent decree intended to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families in New Jersey.
Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where her courses include civil procedure, constitutional law, fairness and privacy, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, law and education, nonprofit organizations, and the public law workshop. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about digital communications, democracy, privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. Minow served as Dean of Harvard Law School between 2009 and 2017.
Dr. Mical Raz completed her medical training at Tel Aviv University, where she also received a PhD in history of medicine. Raz is the author of Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost its Way, a history of the failures of child welfare policy in the United States. A historian of American psychiatry, Raz is interested in the intersection of psychiatry, poverty and politics. She has provided expert testimony and has published on the unintended consequences of current child abuse policies.
Richard Wexler began his career as a Massachusetts newspaper reporter, where he covered child welfare issues. He is now the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. Wexler will explain the failures of the press to cover this story in a way that gives voice to the most vulnerable populations.
Community and Educational Outreach and Engagement Campaign Advisors:
Joe Dorman serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. OICA is the statewide organization that serves as the voice for Oklahoma’s children within state government. Since taking over this role in 2016, Dorman has helped return the organization to its roots of advocacy work by equipping Oklahomans with the tools they need to call upon elected officials to do better work for the children of the state.
Joe served House District 65 as the state representative for 12 years, authoring key pieces of legislation for education, public safety, and government accountability. He was the 2014 Democratic nominee for Oklahoma Governor and formerly served as a town council member in Rush Springs, also known as the Watermelon Capital of the World.