Maryland Nonprofits is proud to be the home of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth (MARFY).
MARFY is an association of private child caring organizations providing foster care, group homes, and other services through more than 200 programs across Maryland. MARFY advocates on behalf of the provider community through its lobbyist in Annapolis and its member-led coalitions to improve the state’s system of care for the youth and families it serves. MARFY has furthered legislative interests such as rate-setting, labor laws, foster care and placement regulations, and procurement issues and is now considered the “go-to” group for state officials seeking provider input on the system of care in Maryland.
MARFY empowers the provider community to advocate for a system of care in Maryland that meets the needs of children and families.
Youth and families that experience the child caring system in Maryland are empowered and supported with a flexible, responsive system that enables their long-term success.
Children and youth need support to cultivate and develop long-term relationships and trust in order to take steps toward their own long-term well-being.
Family and Youth-Centered System of Care
Services are family-driven and youth guided, empower their voice and reflect their values.
The Voice of Providers
The voice of providers is critical in order to achieve a high-quality system of care.
The System of Care is Responsible for Long-Term Success
The system of care needs to attend to the needs of children and families throughout transitions in care and into their young adulthood.
Give voice to children and families to enable the system to be more responsive to their needs.
- Gather stories and other input from children and families to share how they feel the system of care can be improved.
- Explore multi-media communications to raise their voices.
- Promote improvements to the system of care based on the input of children and families.
Utilize evidence, data, and research to improve the system of care.
- Advocate for the state to commission an independent study of the impact of the current child caring system on youth, with attention to safety, well-being, and health.
- Follow national and state research and data to inform providers, state agencies and policymakers about the best practices and how best to promote them in Maryland.
Achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in the way that provider agencies are funded and regulated.
- Explore options for reform of the funding mechanisms for “money follows the youth” and other models that will enable long-term relationships and greater well-being.
- Collect and address “micro-cases” of bureaucratic issues that cause unnecessary strain on children/families and on providers and address them collectively through advocacy.
Enable Maryland’s community of service providers to network, share information, and build their capacity for excellence.
- Hold conference, workshops, and events that promote the good work of providers, enable providers to network with each other and with the state and promote youth achievement.
- Provide forums to take collective action and share information through coalitions and online forums.
- Ensure sustainability through partnerships, increasing member benefits, grant and sponsor support, and making dues more affordable.
STAFF & EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
As a program of Maryland Nonprofits, the MARFY Executive Council provides guidance and advice to the governing Board of Directors of Maryland Nonprofits related to MARFY member programming. The Executive Council is comprised of the highest-ranking staff person at each membership organization that wishes to be represented. All members of MARFY may be represented on the Council. For more information about the Executive Council, please contact Keron Sadler.
Keron R. Sadler
Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
Ralph D. Belk, LICSW, LCSW-C
National Center for Children and Families (NCCF)
Hearts and Homes for Youth
Policy Co- Chair
Arrow Child & Family Ministries
KERON R. SADLER
Keron R. Sadler is the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth (MARFY)where she is responsible for developing the strategy, goals, and tactics for MARFY as the statewide voice for child welfare providers and the larger community of nonprofits that serve children and youth.
Before joining MARFY, Keron served as the inaugural CEO for the MD LGBT Chamber of Commerce where she executed sound business practices to level up the organization. For almost a decade, she was the National Health Manager and LGBTQ staff lead at the N.A.A.C.P. Headquarters, which is the oldest civil rights grassroots organization fighting for equality for all people.
A change agent across diverse national sectors, she has a proven track record of mobilizing communities around complex issues using innovative approaches. As a pioneer leader, she executes and sustains organizational strategies to attain optimal goals. Understanding the significant impact that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)can have based on systemic and institutional changes, she is a committed DEI Trainer facilitating challenges through education and awareness to influence behavioral change.
She serves in the United States Army Reserve as a 1st Lieutenant Chaplain and also has formal training as an MFT psychotherapist at Pfeiffer University. Keron holds a bachelor of Arts degree from American Baptist College, a Master of Divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary, and a DEI certificate from Cornell University. Keron is the founder of KRS Ministries and a co-author of the Daily Dose of Direction Devotional for Women in Business. Additionally, Keron is an ordained Elder in the AMEZ church.
Chloe started at Hearts & Homes in 2000 and worked for two years as a Social Worker while she was working on her Masters. She returned in 2010 and was hired as the Program Administrator, responsible for oversight of all Residential Treatment Care Programs and was a driving force behind projects that enabled us to better serve the varied and changing needs of our young people. She is a Licensed Certified Clinical Social Worker and Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer. She serves on two non-profit boards and sits on the Commission for Children and Youth.
Chloe has been working with children, adolescents, and families in the state of Maryland for the past 8 years, with over 20 years of experience in social work and child welfare. She is committed to providing the best behavioral and mental health services for the youth in our care and to find ways to better serve youth and families who are at-risk.
Steve Acerno is a licensed social worker with over twenty years of experience in the child welfare field. He is currently the Treatment Foster Care Director at The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region in Harford County.
Steve’s experience ranges from providing direct clinical services in private residential and out-patient settings, to working as a foster care supervisor through a local Department of Social Services agency, and currently overseeing a treatment foster care program.
Steve is passionate about advocating for vulnerable youth and families as well as working on the goal of finding permanency for children in the foster care system. Steve is excited about the opportunity to represent MARFY as the Chair of the executive council and looking forward to strengthening MARFY’s partnerships with stakeholders across the state.
Ralph D. Belk, LICSW, LCSW-C
Ralph D. Belk is the Deputy Executive Director, of Program Administration with the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF). Serving in this role for the last 16 years, Mr. Belk provides clinical and program administrative oversight, regulatory and contractual compliance, and overall team leadership to NCCF direct service programs through program level integration, quality assurance, supervision, and training, outcome measurement, and financial management. Mr. Belk participates as a member of the executive management team for agency-wide decision-making, problem solving, planning, and evaluation of agency problems and policies. He promotes locally and nationally, through program research, conference presentations, and writings, the societal and community need to support healthy child and family development, and well-being, and to ameliorate the negative impact of current social and economic challenges.
Mr. Belk is a licensed social worker with over 30 years of administrative and direct practice experience in child welfare and human service fields working with high-risk children, youth, and families. He has also served as President of NASW DC Metro Chapter as well past President of the District’s Consortium of Child Welfare.
Mr. Belk is a native Washingtonian, graduating from the District of Columbia Public Schools. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Texas Christian University in 1991 and his Masters of Social Work from Case Western Reserve University in 1995.
Robert Basler is Associate Vice President at Arrow Child and Family Ministries, where he oversees Residential, Foster Care, and Community Services. Mr. Basler has a Bachelors in Psychology from Loyola University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.
Ashley was born, raised and currently resides in Baltimore County, Maryland. She has obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Salisbury University and Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Ashley then went on to graduate from the University of Maryland School of Social Work with a Masterof Social Work where she had a Clinical and Management concentration in Child and Family Social Work.
Ashley is currently employed as the Director of Foster Care & Clinical Services for The Arc Baltimore. In this position she enjoys watching her staff grow professionally and clinically, while supporting the needs of the youth that they serve. Ashley enjoys working with adolescent and teens and she has a history of professional service in many facets of Child Welfare, both the public and private arenas. Ashley has received extensive training in Child Trauma including Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She has worked with children and families who have experienced mental health and behavioral concerns as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities.
During her downtime Ashley enjoys traveling the Caribbean with her husband and six year old daughter, spending time with her family or in church where she is a member of Steward Board, Stewardship and Finance Committee and is Vice President of Missionary Society. Her current focus is on expanding her knowledge both clinically and spiritually.