Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer

Center for Family Representation
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
May 28, 2022

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Position Type
Advocacy, Legal Services, Social Services
Employment Type
Full Time
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About the Role[1]

Reporting to CFR’s Board of Directors, the ED/CEO is responsible for all aspects of CFR’s programs, staff, stability and growth. Specifically, the ED/CEO will:

  • Ensure the continuation of high quality programming for CFR’s clients and oversee managing the revenue that supports it by working closely with and partnering with all program Directors on quality assurance, training and consistent supervision, support and review of staff, new programs and alignment of all programs with CFR’s mission.
  • Lead and support CFR’s internal DEIB work by working closely with CFR’s first Chief Operating Officer (COO) and CFR’s internal management DEIB work as well as external consultants; ensure that CFR’s DEIB commitment and work is reflected throughout the organization, externally, and in pertinent communications.
  • Act as the chief liaison to the Board by meeting regularly and working closely with CFR’s Board Chair, co-leading quarterly full Board meetings with the Chair, and participating in finance, development and special committees of the Board.
  • Oversee CFR’s finances, with a focus on preserving adequate cash, revenue and net assets and closely managing CFR’s operating expenses, by partnering with CFR’s Chief Financial and Deputy Financial Officers (CFO and Deputy CFO) and the Board Finance Committee; this also includes work with the Deputy CFO on managing a variety of government contracts (proposals, reporting and budgeting) and building upon data to reflect CFR’s work.
  • Act as CFR’s chief fund-raiser, including: responding to RFP’s and negotiating with City and State officials who control CFR’s multi-year government contracts along with the CFO and Deputy CFO; securing a variety of additional government support by working closely with CFR’s retained lobbyist and designated senior and supervisory staff; overseeing CFR’s foundation revenue, proposals and reporting, by partnering with the Director of Development; securing private donations, primarily by supporting and assisting the Board Development Committee and Director of Development and working with them on CFR’s annual gala.
  • Act as CFR’s primary external spokesperson with the public, elected officials, supporters, court leadership, and leadership of those agencies that impact CFR’s clients, (i.e. ACS), with a focus on the challenges CFR clients face related to poverty and racial harm and elevating the voice and experience of CFR’s clients; this includes public speaking, various written communications, social and conventional media, testimony, work on city-wide, state and national task forces, including frequent coalition work with agencies that are similarly situated to CFR; this work also involves support for and work with CFR’s internal policy team and Development and Communications staff.
  • Ensure and improve staff recruitment and retention, by working closely with and supporting CFR’s COO, including in Human Resource, on DEIB routines and programming, and facilities maintenance.
  • Maintain and build on CFR’s reputation as a nationally recognized family and youth defense expert by participating in national policy coalitions, continuing robust external training of practitioners at the city, state and national level, and overseeing a variety of communications and offerings; this includes work with a variety of senior, supervisory and director level staff.
  • Lead the organization through periods of growth and transition such as the continued transition to a hybrid work setting, the development of new programs, and/or a greater presence in the community that CFR serves; this involves work with staff at all levels and close coordination with CFR’s COO, Directors and CFO and Deputy CFO.
  • Strategic planning for the continued health and success of CFR with Board, CFR’s COO, CFO, Deputy CFO, Directors and pertinent senior and supervisory staff. This includes support of the COO in work with CFR’s staff union and could include leading the next negotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2023. It includes anticipating RFP’s and insuring CFR is well-positioned to respond, developing concept papers and outreach to prospective funders as well as engaging in sometimes difficult decision-making processes on cost-savings, and fiscal and operational priorities.

Attributes of the Successful Candidate

The next ED/CEO must be passionately committed to CFR’s mission and possess significant, meaningful experience in indigent legal services; experience with an interdisciplinary, holistic service model is preferred. The person should have a deep desire to lead CFR, with all the challenges and exhilaration that accompany the role. A genuine and demonstrated commitment to CFR’s clients and their communities and to social and racial justice is a must. In addition, the successful candidate will be:

  • An attorney, in good standing, and licensed to practice law in New York State.
  • Energetic, a creative problem-solver, and self-aware.
  • An analytic and an effective critical thinker.
  • An effective and persuasive communicator, for a variety of audiences and in a variety of settings, that are both internal and external; strong oral and written communication skills are required in many aspects of the role.
  • Able to steward a culture committed to equity and belonging and able to connect across levels and lines of difference, including those related to race, culture, position in the agency and different lived experiences.
  • An effective team builder, with a track record of motivating, partnering and supporting teams to achieve high quality services for clients; able to build and achieve consensus where possible (as CFR is structured presently, the ED/CEO will manage several director and executive teams, including program directors, and engage in project-specific and routine collective work of the COO, CFO and Deputy CFO).
  • Adept at nurturing the professional development of those with whom the person will work most closely.
  • Doggedly attentive to detail; well organized and able to manage multiple deadlines and projects, simultaneously.
  • Able to focus and move toward both short- and long-term goals at the same time.
  • Enthusiastic about being a leader in multiple circles impacting CFR’s clients and passionate about amplifying and elevating the experience of CFR’s clients with multiple stakeholders.
  • Adept at strategic relationship building, internally and externally, with the ongoing objective of improving CFR and its reputation as well as securing financial and political support for CFR.
  • Committed to continued learning and bringing joy to the work.

* In recognition of CFR’s growth and the increasing complexity of the organization, the incoming ED/CEO will have the opportunity to create a second executive level position to share in many of the activities of the ED/CEO role and continue to attend to and grow other agency programs and routines (i.e., government contract management, expansion of external training, and new programs).

About Center for Family Representation

Founded in 2002, CFR is a vibrant, and entrepreneurial place—staffed with passionate advocates who are devoted to their clients and to one another. CFR provides direct legal representation and social work support and advocacy to parents facing investigations and prosecutions by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”), and to young people who are charged in criminal and delinquency matters. CFR serves 2400 clients a year, who are primarily Black and Brown, indigent city residents, in Queens and Manhattan. CFR’s mission is to serve families at risk of separation through the foster care or youth incarceration systems. CFR works to prevent or mitigate family separation to avoid the long-term and potentially devastating consequences of the foster care and youth incarceration systems. Beginning with three people and a budget of $250,000, CFR now has more than 125 staff and an operating budget of $15 million. CFR pioneered a model that gave every client an attorney and a social worker, and the support of ‘parent advocates,’ who are professionals with direct experience of family separation and reunification. CFR was the first legal services agency in the country to add system-impacted parents to its legal teams. Beginning in 2015, and to better serve clients, CFR began its Home for Good program, to provide team representation to clients in the collateral areas of housing and public benefits (civil defense), as well as criminal and immigration matters. In 2019, CFR began its Youth Defense practice and its Early Defense and Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (“SCR”) practice; the latter provides representation to parents during an ACS investigation and in proceedings to amend their SCR records to enhance their employment opportunities. A recognized national expert, CFR regularly trains around the country, more than 500 practitioners annually, and actively participates in system and policy reform at the city, state and national levels. CFR has a robust focus on staff well-being, supervision and resiliency-building. Beginning in 2019, CFR re-committed its efforts to be an anti-racist organization and its internal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) efforts now include monthly cultural recognition celebrations, a weekly open Black Lives Matter discussion group, affinity groups for BIPOC and staff who identify as White and four management-staff sub-committees that focus on internal DEIB programming and communications.

CFR’s growth and work has been led for the last six-plus years by its Co-Founder and Executive Director who will step down after 20 years with the organization, in Fall of 2022. She will remain available as necessary, on a consultant basis, to guide and support the transition for the new ED/CEO.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and a C.V. including all experience that you believe is relevant to the position to BoardChair@cfrny.org.

CFR strives to create an inclusive and antiracist environment for all of its staff. Candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply; CFR is an EOE.

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