August 23, 2018

Leadership Changes at the UW School of Social Work

On July 31, Ben deHaan, current executive director of Partners for Our Children (POC), will join the School of Social Work’s leadership team as Associate Dean for Social Service Innovation and Partnerships, pending UW approval.  In this part-time position, Ben will advance the School’s commitment to strengthening public policy and the social services sector in Washington state, and will provide strategic support on policy change, systems impact and financial sustainability to the School’s research and innovation centers. This new position is funded through a long-term agreement with the University as part of the donor gift that established POC and its systems-change agenda, which Ben will continue to advise and support.

During eight successful and fruitful years at POC, Ben (pictured, right) and his staff of researchers and innovators developed a high-impact strategy for systems change that combines public policy, advocacy, research and data analytics; built a social services app called Oliver, setting a new standard for the role of technology in social services delivery; and created Strive, a first-of-its-kind support program for parents visiting their children in foster care. In his new role, he will bring this rich experience to supporting and advancing the School’s centers and initiatives. 

At the same time, Emiko Tajima will assume the POC executive director position. Emiko brings to the role a long-standing commitment to children and youth and to improving the service systems and policies that protect vulnerable children and families. Her research focuses on strengthening prevention-and-intervention strategies that reduce domestic violence and child maltreatment and promote positive outcomes for children. Emiko also has more than 10 years of administrative experience as the School’s associate dean for academic affairs and MSW program director. 

The leadership team is delighted to have Emiko step into this important role for POC. As executive director, Emiko will ensure POC meets its next generation of strategic goals while continuing to work on its intervention, training and research initiatives as well as its public policy work. Both Ben and Emiko will continue their joint oversight of the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, which provides training, education and research that supports the state’s child welfare workforce and caregivers in the foster care system.