Children’s Rights, a national nonprofit perhaps best known for suing states to improve public systems serving children, has named Shereen White as its first policy director.
White currently serves as a senior staff attorney for the New York City-based organization, which has handled at least 25 class action lawsuits since 1995. The organization doesn’t just respond to enforce the legal rights of children after they’ve been violated, but increasingly has turned to shaping law and policy on the front end. White’s appointment as Children’s Rights first-ever director of advocacy and policy reflects her growing influence on the group’s mission.
White was chief author of the May report by Children’s Rights, “Fighting Institutional Racism at the Front End of Child Welfare Systems,” which sets out strategies to disrupt institutional racism in child welfare and end the unnecessary surveillance, investigation and separation of Black families.
White will also continue to leverage her experience to improve mental health services in child welfare, address the distinctive needs of LGBTQ+ youth and reform a “broken juvenile justice system,” Sandy Santana, executive director of Children’s Rights, said in a news release announcing the promotion.
White, the daughter of a dad who aged out of foster care, said she was overjoyed and honored to begin working in her new position. “There is no feeling like knowing you are where you are supposed to be, doing the work you were intended to do, alongside people you were meant to do it with,” she said.
Before joining Children’s Rights in 2019, White was an assistant general counsel for the School District of Philadelphia, with a focus on special education issues. White also worked in Philadelphia as a child advocate attorney, where she represented kids in the child welfare system. She earned her law degree at Villanova in 2009 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University.