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Subject Matter Experts

Steven Olender

Federal Child Welfare & Kinship Policy Expert

Headshot of Steven Olender.

Steven Olender is an expert in federal child welfare and kinship policy. He serves as Senior Director for Strategic Policy Initiatives at Think of Us, a research and design lab for child welfare, focused on fundamentally transforming the system so that people with lived experience are at the center of designing, imagining, and building. Prior to joining Think of Us, Steven helped direct the child welfare policy portfolio at the Children’s Defense Fund and co-led the Child Welfare and Mental Health Coalition, an informal partnership of more than 200 organizations dedicated to child welfare reform. Steven has co-written numerous publications related to child welfare and kinship care, including Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act: A Technical Guide for Agencies, Policymakers, and Other Stakeholders. Since 2020, he has served as the co-chair of the Public Policy Committee at Generations United.