Lawrence Retirement Announced, Executive Director Sought

Lawrence Retirement Announced, Executive Director Sought

The Family Design Resources Inc. board of directors announced the retirement of Executive Director Brenda L. Lawrence, effective July 1, 2018.

Lawrence founded FDR in 1999 to address the needs of abused and neglected children, the families who care for them, and the professionals who serve them.

Throughout her 19-year tenure, Lawrence served in a dual role providing leadership to the agency and the programs of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network. The partnership of FDR and Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries has been awarded the SWAN prime contract for an unprecedented four consecutive terms.

As child welfare laws and regulations changed and social work practice developed, Lawrence guided the growth of SWAN in numerous areas. Services grew from a sole focus on adoption to encompass all permanency goals for children. Lawrence was instrumental in the inclusion of the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange and the SWAN Legal Services Initiative in SWAN.

Lawrence grew FDR from a home office with three employees to a current staff of more than 300 throughout Pennsylvania. Through her leadership and participation on numerous councils and workgroups, she became a household name in Pennsylvania's child welfare community. In 2005, she was recognized as an Adoption Activist by the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

In announcing Lawrence’s retirement, FDR board President Joy Weaver said, “Brenda has worked tirelessly to help caseworkers, funders and the public understand that every child in foster care needs and deserves a family. With her knowledge and passion, she went to work at a system level to make a difference for individual children and families, and the child welfare community is stronger as a result.”

Weaver and the other officers have been working with Lawrence to ensure a smooth transition. The process to identify and select a successor executive director is underway and expected to be complete by April 1. A job postingis listed on the agency’s website.

“We plan to onboard the next director as Brenda winds down her service and look forward to announcing our next skilled and energetic leader soon,” Weaver said.