Kara Allen-Eckard is the Program Manager for the North Carolina Child Welfare Family Leadership Model. The Model engages child welfare families as partners in policy, practice and program decisions at the state and county level. Kara has worked for the Center for Family and Community Engagement since 2004 supporting our work with the Division of Social Services, the Department of Public Instruction and the Children’s Bureau Fostering YES grant. She has also supported the Center’s curriculum development work with the Cree Nation in Canada and indigenous communities in Guatemala. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Virginia, and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Washington.
Kara is committed to the inclusion of family and community stakeholders in decision-making. At the Center, she has supported family and community participation in research, curriculum development, training and program implementation. She provides leadership for our Family Partner programming, which engages families with lived experience as full partners in the work of the Center. She is a founding member and longtime co-chair of the Family Agency Collaborative Training Team (FACTT), a collaborative effort to support family and youth partner trainers and partnership training efforts in North Carolina.
Prior to moving to North Carolina, Kara was Program Director of the Community-Family Partnership Project in Kent, Washington from 1998-2003 where she utilized family-group decision-making programs in child welfare to develop partnerships between families, communities and social services. Kara’s future goals with the center are to continue to support programs that engage family, youth and community voices as an essential partner in policy, programming, research, training and education.
Burke, T., Allen-Eckard, K., Kemp, S., Ware, J., Ackroyd, A., & Munoz, S (2003). Community Family Support Meetings: Adding Community Resources to Family Decision Making. Protecting Children, 18, 104-107.
Kemp, S., Allen-Eckard, K., Ackroyd, A., Becker, M., & Burke, T. (2005). Community Family Support Meetings: Connecting Families, Public Child Welfare, and Community Resources. In Mallon, G. & Hess, P. (Eds.), Child Welfare for the 21st Century: A Handbook of Practices, Policies, and Programs (pp. 102-117). New York: Columbia University Press.
Taliaferro, J.D., DeCuir-Gunby, J., Allen-Eckard, K. (2009). ‘I can see parents being reluctant’: perceptions of parental involvement using child and family teams in schools. Child & Family Social Work, 14, 278-288. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00594.x
Allen-Eckard, K., Latz, M., & Coppedge, A. (2010). What do families want? Family voices in the training room. Protecting Children, 25, 11-21.
Pennell, J., Allen-Eckard, K., Latz, M., & Tomlinson, C. (2019). Children’s hopes and converging family and state networks of regulation. In G. Burford, J. Braithwaite, & V. Braithwaite (Eds.), Restorative and Responsive Human Services (pp. 100-115). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Allen-Eckard, K., Myers, L., Solomon, P., & Pennell, J. (2006, June). Keeping families at the center of cross-system partnerships: The North Carolina example. Workshop presented at the annual conference of the American Humane on Family Group Decision Making, San Antonio, TX.
Pennell, J., Allen-Eckard, K., & McHenry, D. (2007, June). FGDM as prevention in schools. Workshop presented at the annual conference of the American Humane on Family Group Decision Making, Washington, DC.
Allen-Eckard, K., & Jones, L. (2008, June). Amplifying family voices in schools and other child-serving systems. Workshop presented at the annual conference of the American Humane on Family Group Decision Making, Tucson, AZ.
Allen-Eckard, K., Latz, M., & Soto, M. (2008, August). Working with Hispanic/Latino families in child and family teams. Workshop to 2008 Multiple Response Systems Institute, Greensboro, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., Meadows, E., Jones, L., (2010, April). Family parent trainers-moving beyond the pop up parent role. Workshop to 2010 North Carolina Foster and Adoptive Parent Conference, Charlotte, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., Meadows, E. (2010, April). The synergy of family professional collaboration. Workshop for Public Health and Children with Special Needs Family Council, Raleigh, NC
Allen-Eckard, K., Meadows, E., Stokes, C and Wakefield, A., (2010, October). Engaging families in partnership with families and youth. Workshop to 2010 National Outreach Scholarship Conference, Raleigh, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., Farmer, G., Jones, B and Lambert, A., (2013, March). Become involved in Indian Child Welfare in your community. Panel to 2013 Annual NC Indian Unity Conference.
Allen-Eckard, K., Stokes, C. (2013, June). Believe and achieve. Presentation to 2013 Student Services Institute Cumberland County Schools.
Allen-Eckard, K., & Stokes, C. (2014, June). Preparing the trails: involving older youth In child and family teams. Pre-conference skills institute 17th Conference on Family Group Decision Making and Other Family Engagement Approaches, Vail, Co.
Allen-Eckard, K., & Latz, M. (2014, June). Walking the trail side-by-side: using the partnership co-training model. Workshop presented at the 17th Conference on Family Group Decision Making and Other Family Engagement Approaches, Vail, Co.
Allen-Eckard, K., Latz, M., & Middleton, M. (2017, March). Partnership training: bridging the gap between what we say and what we do. Workshop presented at the 2017 Prevent Child Abuse Learning and Leadership Summit, Durham, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., O’Connor, K.,& Moore, D. (2017, October). Starting from the top: developing a state level child welfare family advisory council. Workshop at 2017 International Conference on Innovations in Family Engagement, Vail, CO.
Allen-Eckard, K. & Middleton, M. (2017, October). Partnership training: bridging the gap between what we say and what we do. Workshop at 2017 International Conference on Innovations in Family Engagement, Vail, CO.
Allen-Eckard, K., Day, D., Lambert, A., Smith, G., McCullough, T., Dempson, T., Brown, G., Ginn, B. and Young, B. (2019, March). Child welfare family leadership: how including family at the table promotes true collaboration and informed decisions. Presentation to 2019 Prevent Child Abuse Learning and Leadership Summit, Raleigh, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., Brown, G., Day, D., Dempson, T., Harcum, N., Nesbitt, K., & Smith, T. (2019, July). North Carolina child welfare family leadership model and parent cafes overview. Presentation to 2019 NCACDSS Social Services Institute, Greensboro, NC.
Allen-Eckard, K., Day, D., & Dempson, T. (2019, November). North Carolina child welfare family leadership: engaging and investing in partnerships. Workshop at 2019 International Conference on Innovations in Family Engagement, San Diego, CA.
Allen-Eckard, K., Brown, G., Day, D., & Young, B. (2020, October). North Carolina Child Welfare Family Advisory Council: lessons learned and lessons shared. Workshop at 2020 A Call to Action to Change Child Welfare: Kempe Center’s International Virtual Conference.
B.A. Psychology and Spanish The University of Virginia 1992
MSW Social Work The University of Washington 1996