Heidi Staples is the director of the Center on Child Welfare at UCLA, which provides training to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services as part of the University Consortium on Children and Families, which is composed of universities with social work programs in Los Angeles County. The Center also oversees field training of master’s level MSW interns who agree to become employees of DCFS in exchange for tuition reimbursement.
Ms. Staples has a master's and bachelor's in social work and has worked as a social worker for the federal government, in various community agencies, and for twenty five years in San Diego County Child Welfare Services, in virtually every aspect of the agency. Her last position in San Diego County was as Health and Human Services Administrator III over the Adoptions Program, which experienced a 100% increase in the number of adoptions of foster children and youth under her leadership, including hard-to-place children and youth who waited the longest for permanency. While in San Diego County, she served five years on the Child Fatality Review Team on numerous county, state and regional task forces; created a multimillion dollar adoption recruitment campaign and partnership with a local TV station featuring foster children awaiting adoption as well as adoption success stories; created an innovative permanency program for youth in group care; and led numerous public outreach efforts, events and partnerships with local churches and community organizations.
Beginning in 2007, Ms. Staples served as the national adoption specialist for the federal government at the Children’s Bureau in Washington, D.C., part of the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services. She oversaw the national photo listing of children in foster care, the national ad campaign for adoption recruitment with the Ad Council, two national training centers on adoption and foster care, and national meetings for state adoption and foster care managers, and she prepared the annual Presidential Proclamation on Adoption. She was responsible for training and technical assistance to states on adoption and foster care recruitment and retention, the Multi Ethnic Placement Act, and adoption placement, post adoption services, best practices, and a national leadership development institute for emerging leaders of color in adoption services. She also helped create, review and oversee federal grant projects to states in diligent recruitment and improvement projects to state child welfare systems to help them better serve children and families. She oversaw the creation of training videos and tools designed to assist child welfare professionals, and edited and provided consultation on foster care and adoption information and content for the Child Welfare information Gateway, a national clearinghouse on child welfare information.
Ms. Staples also worked as a professional trainer for the Southern Public Child Welfare Training Academy, the California Administrative Office of the Court, and other entities as well as training at the county, state and national level on a variety of child welfare topics to a variety of audiences. She authored the curriculum for the state child welfare foundational training for all social workers in California entering public child welfare on Identification of Child Maltreatment as well as several others.