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Gail Johnson Vaughan, MA

Gail is the Director Emerita and Chief Permanency Officer of Families NOW, a nonprofit advocacy organization achieving breakthrough impact for child welfare organizations to increase placement stability and improve permanency outcomes for children in foster care.

Gail’s leadership in advocacy includes her previous work as Executive Director of Sierra Forever Families and as founder of Families NOW. Among her achievements are California’s longest sustained specialized youth permanency services (Destination Family in Sacramento County) and the nation’s first legislation to address the lack of mental health professionals with specialized training and expertise in adoption/permanency issues. Her analysis of savings resulting from implementation of proven specialized permanency services resulted in improved permanency practice in California and other states.

Gail has been recognized with numerous honors, including an Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an Angel in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, A Purpose Prize Fellowship from Encore.org, California’s Change a Lifetime Award, the Sacramento Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award, and an Adoption Advocate award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children, among others.

Gail is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in organizational psychology, with the goal of maximizing the tools she brings to her work. To keep it all in perspective, she loves getting her feet muddy working in her garden with her nine grandchildren.

Consulting Areas

Gail provides training and consulting with special expertise in: helping public and private child welfare organizations recognize and remove internal systemic and people-centered barriers to achieving and sustaining permanent families for foster children who wait for permanent families; funding specialized permanency services; and creating and passing legislation to improve and sustain permanency outcomes.