Retirement and Transition: A heartfelt letter from CEO, Drew Henrie-McWilliams

Dear community partners, contributors, and neighbors,

Today, I’m sharing news about an upcoming transition. At the end of 2022, I will retire after nearly 25 years at Morrison Child and Family Services, including nine years as the CEO.

This decision has been a long time coming, following considerable reflection and many discussions with my family. Upon my retirement, my husband and I will relocate to Florida, where the warmer climate will provide health benefits as we age into our golden years, and where we can more easily care for my 97-year-old stepmother, who already lives there.

It has been an honor to collaborate with so many impactful community organizations, generous contributors, and to serve a staff deeply committed to supporting children, families, and each other every day. Morrison Child and Family Services strives to uplift those we serve, and we have accomplished so much together.

Over just the past nine years at Morrison, our staff have worked together and therefore:

• Completed the Rotary Youth Center at Morrison, which opened in 2021 following a successful capital campaign. This facility provides year-round space for our communities to gather and recreate, and allows us to extend our impact further by combining physical and mental health treatment.
• Expanded our parent mentor program from one county to six counties.
• Created the SAGE residential program, which provides long-term stabilization and healing for young survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
• Adopted a robust equity and inclusion policy, along with mission and vision statements that fully reflect this policy, providing the basis for key planning decisions and actions by our Equity Advisory Council.
• Earned accreditation from the Joint Commission for our behavioral health and child welfare programs, demonstrating that our programs embody best practices and positively impact the lives of the children and families we serve.
• Developed an organization-wide Sanctuary Model to create safe and healing environments for those who have experienced chronic stress, trauma, and adversity.
• Celebrated our 75th anniversary, including a featured exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society.
• Increased services to 8,200 children and families per year, up from 5,300.

Perhaps even more importantly, we continued providing critical social services to children and families despite unprecedented challenges during the pandemic. While these challenges at times seemed nearly insurmountable, I’m proud of our team for using the opportunity to integrate new, virtual formats into our services, which will allow us to further break down barriers and improve access for those we serve on an ongoing basis.

None of this would have happened without you, our valued community partners, contributors, and tremendously caring and dedicated staff and volunteers. I’m privileged to have worked alongside you, and to be planning to leave at a time when Morrison is positioned for even better and brighter moments ahead.

As I look to the future, I’m excited about our staff’s ongoing work to fully implement the trauma-based Sanctuary Model, the continued growth of our parent mentor program and continuing to enhance our ability to reach children and families sooner through comprehensive prevention services.

While my last day at the helm is not until December 31st, the time has come to open the opportunity for someone else to take the lead at Morrison. I will work closely with our Board of Directors as they begin a robust search and am committed to ensuring a smooth and successful transition. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.

The future of Morrison Child and Family Services is very positive, and I look forward to seeing the organization continue to thrive and grow with the support of our staff, volunteers, and community partners and contributors like yourself. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

As a parting wish, I ask that you consider becoming a monthly sustainer of Morrison during this transition. By joining our “Dream Team,” you help us to continue the life-changing work begun by Dr. Carl Morrison and deeply invested in by me going on 25 years. Will you also invest to support Oregon’s children and families through the times ahead?

In your service,
Drew Henrie-McWilliams, MS Ed