Kent Berkley, Annie E. Casey Foundation

TITLE: Senior Associate Director, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative

FOCUS AREAS: Foster care, children

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PROFILE: Kent Berkley is Senior Associate Director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. Here is his bio on the initiative's website:

 Kent Berkley, Esq. is Senior Associate Director at the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Initiative is a national foundation working to improve outcomes for young people in, and exiting from, the child welfare system.  Mr. Berkley has dedicated nearly three decades of work as a lawyer representing children and youth, a national consultant advocating improved system performance for children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and as an implementer of promising and evidence-based practices and policies.

As Senior Associate Director, Mr. Berkley leads the Initiative's development of evidence-based standards and best practices for connecting older youth to family supports.  He helped develop the Initiative's Toolkit, a series of implementation manuals for youth engagement and leadership, community partnerships, and increased opportunities for youth transitioning to adulthood.


Mr. Berkley's national consulting has been on the full spectrum of child welfare and juvenile justice issues, and has developed agency-specific best practices models, curricula, and strategic plans to achieve organizational goals and improved outcomes for children and families.  He was Assistant General Counsel in the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS), and represented the Department in settlement negotiations of Brian A. v. Bredesen.  He then worked with DCS to create the Standards of Professional Practice for Serving Children and Families:  A Model of Practice.


Mr. Berkley has authored and co-authored numerous articles and reports addressing key issues in child welfare and juvenile justice policy, most recently Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood:  Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justicefor the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.  He has provided national and state training for continuing legal education programs on juvenile law, and conducted workshops and onsite technical assistance for the purpose of increasing system performance and improving outcomes for children and youth.


Mr. Berkley graduated Summa Cum Laude from William Jewell College and is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, which awarded him the Gustavas Hamner Public Interest Fellowship for exemplary work as Assistant Public Defender/Juvenile Division, Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender's Office.