Shadi Houshyar (Former Staff) Vice President
Shadi serves as First Focus’ Vice President for Child Welfare Policy. She has experience working with families involved in the child welfare system and is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to address the health and behavioral health challenges of children and youth impacted by the child welfare system. Shadi is also director of the State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center (SPARC), a national resource center for state-based advocates, aimed at improving outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system by building the capacity of and connections between state child welfare advocates. Shadi oversees a growing network of state-based child welfare advocates participating in SPARC and works collaboratively with state child welfare advocates to set SPARC’s agenda of issues and activities.
Shadi received her PhD in developmental psychology from Yale University, where she worked with children who were maltreated, and concentrated her research on identifying factors that foster resiliency in children exposed to trauma. Shadi’s graduate research involved an evaluation of an intervention program in the state of Connecticut designed to minimize multiple placements, re-abuse, and re-entry into the child welfare system. Her research was recognized by awards from Division 37 of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Section on Maltreatment of Division 37 of APA, and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students. While at Yale, Shadi served as a Fellow of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. After graduating, Shadi went on to serve as a AAAS/SRCD Congressional Fellow in the Senate, working on education and health policy in the Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM). She has experience in policy communications and government relations and served as a Senior Associate at Burness Communications - a communications firm working exclusively with non-profits and foundations in the health sector.
At First Focus, she is leading our efforts on child welfare policy.