Kathy Wright’s experience as a mental health executive, advocate and educator has spanned over a decade. She has been instrumental in providing dedicated and passionate leadership as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Parents’ Caucus (NJPC). She has developed programs and support services that empower parents, caregivers and family members raising children with emotional and behavioral differences, as well as professionals and providers in the areas of family engagement.
Kathy is the writer of NJPC’s Parents’ Empowerment Academy: NJPC’s Professional Parent Advocacy Training and, Engaging Parents & Family Members curricula; Children Uplifted Mentoring Initiative, OJJDP Families Uplifted Prevention Initiative, NJ Youth Justice Initiative, and the NJ Youth Caucus.
Kathy has published numerous policy and research briefs, most recently The Incarceration of Children & Youth in New Jersey's Adult Prison System, The Silent Children’s Mental Healthcare Crisis in New Jersey ‘s Underserved Communities, Souls of Young Folk: The Disproportionate Prosecution of Black Youth In New Jersey, Navigating New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice System: A Family Guide and The Psychiatric Medication Use Among New Jersey Children.
She is a long standing member of the Institute for Social Justice – Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition of NJ representing families raising youth with mental health differences who have contact with the juvenile justice system and the writer of NJPC Navigating the Juvenile Justice System in NJ: A Family Guide, the first statewide guide for families in New Jersey.
As a cross-system advocate for children and families, Kathy has been very active in multiple systems, including juvenile justice, mental health, and child welfare. In addition to the New Jersey Parents Caucus, her experience and accomplishments include a 2014 Youth Justice Leadership Fellowship, a national fellowship program run by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN); Steering Committee Member of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition providing a family voice to the coalition; the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at Georgetown University providing technical assistance services in the Transformation Facilitation process to state level children’s mental health directors and serving as a TF Management Team Member; Grant reviewer for the US Department of Justice, SAMHSA, Department of Education and NJ Division of Child Behavioral Health; National Family & Youth Council Member ensuring family and youth driven values and approaches are infused in the National Technical Assistance Center, SAMHSA Statewide Family Network Technical Assistance Center providing Technical Assistance to Statewide Family Networks throughout the country; Adolescent Services & Child Welfare Liaison at SOS, Inc., a 95-bed shelter for homeless women and children, where she was instrumental in implementing evidence-based programs for “hard-to-place” adolescents involved in the child welfare systems; Community Coordinator at the Mental Health Association of Morris County; Internship at Greystone Psychiatric Hospital and Director of Education for Skyland Community Development, Inc., a community project serving the educational and employments needs of the Ramapo Indian population in Upper Passaic County.
Kathy remains dedicated to working with families to improve outcomes for their children.