The Children’s Bureau awarded recognition to five leading child advocates across the nation.

Children's Bureau Champion Awards recipients

Jerry Milner (left) of the Children’s Bureau announces the five recipients of the national Champion Awards for commitment to child and family well-being.

Children’s Trust CEO Sue Williams was named one of five honorees of the Children’s Bureau Champion Award April 25 at the 21st National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington, D.C. She was recognized for promoting child and family well-being, the inaugural year for this award category.

Recipients of the award have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the overall health and well-being of our nation’s children and families. Williams, who has led Children’s Trust since 2007, was cited in the official designation from the Children’s Bureau as a tireless advocate for children throughout South Carolina and at the national level.

Jerry Milner and Sue Williams

Jerry Milner and Sue Williams

Jerry Milner, associate commissioner for the Children’s Bureau, made the announcement and awarded a certificate to Williams at the event.

“Sue played an instrumental role in facilitating the merger of three child welfare organizations in the state to focus jointly on funding evidence-based and innovative programs for preventing child abuse, neglect and injuries,” Milner said. “I had the incredible opportunity a while back to visit with Children’s Trust of South Carolina. I was able to see there firsthand how effective a community-based primary prevention program can turn lives around, and I spoke with some of the people whose lives would be dramatically different had it not been for the work of Children’s Trust.”

Milner visited Charleston in November 2018 for the annual meeting of the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, and he also met with University Pediatrics – Northwoods, one of Children’s Trust home visiting partners through MUSC Children’s Health, and some of the families it serves. The Children’s Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focuses on improving the lives of children and families through programs that reduce child abuse and neglect, increase the number of adoptions, and strengthen foster care.

Children’s Trust takes a leadership role in South Carolina to prevent child abuse and neglect through evidence-based programs like home visiting, the Strengthening Families Program and Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). The organization also compiles high-quality data and trend analysis, advocates for well-founded policies that champion strong families and empowered communities, builds partnerships at the state and local levels, and provides training that offers child-serving professionals learning opportunities and the tools to help children and families.

“I am very honored that our prevention efforts in South Carolina are being recognized at a national level,” Williams said. “We are doing innovative, smart work that helps parents be better parents and breaks generational cycles of abuse and neglect. We are creating a prevention system so that no child has to experience abuse and neglect, saving them and our communities the high price associated with childhood trauma.”

Williams called the award a reflection of the hard work being done by the Children’s Trust organization and its many state and local partners.

“It is an incredible opportunity to lead this work in South Carolina, but none of what we have achieved has been done by me or by our organization alone,” she said. “Making families stronger involves connecting children and parents to programs and resources, and it includes communities, our partner organizations, their leaders and our funders. This is an award for prevention in South Carolina.”

Williams currently sits on the board of directors for South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, and is a member of the state Child Fatality Advisory Committee. On a national level, she serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance for Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. For Prevent Child Abuse America, she is chair of the Chapter Network Executive Committee and a peer reviewer.

Prior to her arrival at Children’s Trust, Williams founded the group that became EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia. She is a recipient of the 1999 Order of the Palmetto awarded by then-Gov. Jim Hodges.

She completed Harvard University’s Governing for Nonprofit Excellence program, Leadership South Carolina, and Furman University’s Diversity Leadership Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina.

Read the Children’s Bureau story on the Champion Awards.

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