Traci LaLiberte, Ph.D., MSW ’97 is the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare where she oversees the Center’s research and training. She was recently awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the Minnesota Association of Children’s Mental Health. The award recognizes individuals who have had a significant, positive influence on the lives of children with mental health needs.Traci is a passionate advocate for children and works tirelessly to advance their safety, permanence and wellbeing through her research, publications, speaking and through her leadership. Her research focuses on child welfare practice and policy with special interest in child and parent disabilities, child wellbeing, educational success and stability for at risk youth, comprehensive family assessment, as well as permanency and post adoption services for children in out-of-home care. Traci has served as principal investigator on studies of child welfare and educational experiences of high-risk youth, evidence-based practices in treatment foster care settings, and child welfare leadership. As an expert in the field she has been called upon several times to testify before Congress on behalf of children.