Children’s Bureau President & CEO Alex Morales Announces His Retirement
After 30 years of service to the well-being of children and families, Children’s Bureau’s President & CEO Alex Morales has announced his retirement scheduled for June in 2018.
Morales’ visionary leadership has guided the 113-year-old nonprofit to pioneer efforts in the child abuse prevention and treatment arena that has impacted thousands of vulnerable children and families both locally and nationwide. During his tenure, Children’s Bureau raised $22 million to build its new Los Angeles-based headquarters at Magnolia Place Family Center and further expand its commitment to uplifting vulnerable children, their families and community. This dedication fostered the Magnolia Community Initiative (MCI), an emerging national and international model for building community wellness, resiliency, prevention and family support. The core vision of MCI is to help 35,000 children and youth within 500 blocks of Los Angeles’ most at-risk neighborhoods achieve success in education, health, and nurturing care and economic stability from their families and community.
Morales began at Children’s Bureau in 1988 as the associate director and was promoted in 1994 to president & CEO. His leadership helped Children’s Bureau be ahead of the times. In the mid-1990’s, Morales led the agency’s board of directors in a bold commitment to focus 50 percent of its program efforts on families with newborns to five-year-olds. Morales promoted parent education for young children and building community support systems through family resource centers as two vital strategies to prevent child abuse. Morales launched a dynamic parent education program called NuParent and led the agency to establish family resource centers in several of its sites in Los Angeles and Orange County and eventually a statewide training program. At the request of the Orange County Social Service Agency, Children’s Bureau pioneered the shift from treatment to prevention. Today, Children’s Bureau is a large financial investor and thought leader in child abuse prevention thanks to Morales’ steadfast commitment to investing in the early years and the prevention approach. In 2016, Children’s Bureau received its first national government grant for Dads Matter, a father engagement program in Orange County. Furthermore, Morales has ensured the agency remains committed to those children already harmed by abuse through its quality-driven family foster care and adoption programs with the addition of mental health services which Morales championed.
“Children’s Bureau is an exceptional organization because of Alex’s extraordinary vision and passion for helping families and communities to thrive. He has led this century-old nonprofit to continued success and vitality with a masterful combination of boldness and heart. While Alex will be deeply missed, he is leaving a strong legacy from which Children’s Bureau can continue to build upon for generations to come,” said Julia Stewart, Chairman of Children’s Bureau’s Board of Directors.
Morales began his career in Los Angeles as a social worker listening to the heartache and pain of over 1,000 families in his counseling work and became convinced that parents don’t want to mistreat or neglect their children; they just didn’t know how to parent well or have the support needed. His expertise was honed at an organization focused on providing mental health to children and their families who were often at risk of child abuse before landing at Children’s Bureau. Morales has been recognized for his impressive contributions in the field as a 2014 Annenberg Foundation – Visionary Leader; 2014 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Finalist; and 2008 Social Worker of the Year, Los Angeles Region of the National Association of Social Workers. He is currently chairman of the board of the Child Welfare League of America and is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work (where he received his master’s degree) teaching policy and social innovation.
“My work at Children’s Bureau evolved into my personal mission. Throughout my 30 years, it has been my honor and great joy to partner with dedicated and outstanding board members, staff and other community leaders to make a meaningful difference through Children’s Bureau’s highly innovative and influential work. I know that the next era under new leadership will continue to make great advances on behalf of those most vulnerable in our community, just like it has for over a century,” said Alex Morales, Children’s Bureau President & CEO.