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  • Writer's pictureAllegheny Family Network


Joyce Blackburn joins AFN in leadership position

PITTSBURGH, PA – Allegheny Family Network (AFN), a family-run organization supporting parents raising children with mental health concerns in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania, announces the hiring of Joyce Blackburn as Deputy Chief Executive Officer beginning in December 2020. Ruth Fox, Chief Executive Officer, will continue as Chief Executive Officer.

Blackburn has dedicated her life’s work in service to families, rising to directorship of child-serving agencies in the Pittsburgh area that support the mental health and special education needs of children and families in the region. Most recently as Executive Director of Allegheny Children’s Initiative, Blackburn led the agency in an expansion of existing services, the addition of a program serving families who are experiencing intimate partner violence, and the adjustment from traditional service delivery to telehealth due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a licensed social worker and an accredited therapist, Blackburn understands the challenges and obstacles families and professionals face in seeking and obtaining quality therapeutic programs, as well as the success that can come to a family that receives effective support through their child’s journey. Blackburn also held positions at Wesley Spectrum Services (now Wesley Family Services), Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Community Human Services, and the Jewish Child Care Association (New York).

“Joyce has been a colleague since 2012 and a real friend to Allegheny Family Network,” said Fox. “AFN is delighted to have Joyce Blackburn as our Deputy CEO. We are rejoicing that Joyce is now part of the AFN team and will be using her expertise for our mission to support ‘family voice’.”

Blackburn became acquainted with the Allegheny Family Network’s mission – “Through peer-to-peer support, education and advocacy, we partner with families of children with behavioral health needs to improve their quality of life” - while attending mental health conferences, providing trainings in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and collaborating with AFN staff on various projects.

Blackburn will navigate through the family-run organization as a Deputy CEO while Fox begins her succession plan into retirement. While Blackburn has trained professionals, supported child protective service case workers, directed the development of new services and provided in-home mental health treatment, the work at AFN will present a new opportunity for a role primarily supporting parents and advocating for Family Voice and Choice.

“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to serve families and their children through the inspiring work done by AFN. I have long admired the work of AFN staff and look forward to taking a leading role in AFN’s expanding mission,” said Blackburn.

Blackburn received her MSW from the Columbia University School of Social Work, a post-master certificate from Hunter College in Social Work Administration, and two B.A. degrees from Pennsylvania State University. She has received accreditation through the Academy of Certified Social Workers.

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