Leader in Child Welfare is presented to a Federation member who helps to assure the Federation’s vision statement is at the forefront of all their actions: communities where all children, youth, and families thrive.
Jerry Peterson, Executive Director of Ruth Ellis Center, was presented with the 2019 Federation Member Leader in Child Welfare award for being an outstanding leader in the field.
Over the past several years, Jerry has been entrenched in the community of Detroit where Ruth Ellis Center is located, learning about the needs of the children and their families who have come to the agency for assistance. When Jerry saw the community’s needs for more access to mental, behavioral, and physical health services, he responded with a call to action to build a center that did not previously exist and remained laser-focused on efforts to fundraise, construct, and develop partnerships to deliver services to completion. When the local MDHHS and central training team reached out for more resources and training on serving LGBTQ and diverse SOGIE youth, Jerry and his team responded with a robust program and willingness to respond to what the community needed. Jerry has been pivotal in implementing positive youth development, harm reduction, family engagement, and trauma-informed care strategies at the agency. Jerry’s contributions to the Federation are many, and his work is helping to ensure the vision that all children, youth, and families thrive.