The Partnership Welcomes Four New Board Members


The Partnership for America’s Children is pleased to welcome four new board members. Paige Clausius-Parks, Richard Kennedy, Keesa Smith, and Holly Welborn begin their terms of service in January 2024. They join the six current board members, forming a dynamic team of executive directors leading multi-issue child advocacy organizations across the nation.


“We are pleased to welcome these four exceptional leaders to our committed board of directors. Their deep experience and leadership as child advocates in their respective states will only strengthen our impact,” said Marquita Little Numan, Executive Director of the Partnership for America’s Children. “They join the Partnership at a pivotal time in our growth as we are crafting a new strategic vision and direction for the organization.”


Paige Clausius-Parks, Richard Kennedy, Keesa Smith, and Holly Welborn bring a wealth of knowledge and dedication to advancing transformative and equitable policies for children and their families.


Paige Clausius-Parks is the Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. From 2018-2022, Paige served as Senior Policy Analyst; responsible for policy analysis, advocacy, research, and project management in areas related to education and economic well-being. Prior to joining Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Paige served as Director of Advancement and Assistant Director at Books are Wings, Network Director at Youth in Action, Teacher/Advisor at the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, and Program Coordinator at Youth Pride, Inc.


Richard Kennedy is the Executive Director at the Tennessee Commission and Children and Youth (TCCY). He was appointed as TCCY on June 16, 2018. Kennedy began with the agency in 2000 as an ombudsman, and he served as the Associate Director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth since January 2011. Kennedy has spent his entire professional career working directly with and advocating for children and youth. Prior to joining state government, Kennedy worked with the Davidson County Community Services Agency, Camelot, Hermitage Hall and the Greater New Orleans Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


Keesa Smith serves as the Executive Director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF). Prior to joining AACF,  Smith served as the Deputy Director for Children and Youth with the Department of Human Services where she oversaw the divisions overseeing childcare and early childhood education, juvenile justice and child welfare. She also served as Chairman of the Arkansas Board of Review and as Deputy Legal Counsel and State Implementation Director for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Governor Mike Beebe. She began her legal career as a Staff Attorney for the Center for Arkansas Legal Services.


Holly Welborn is the Executive Director at Children’s Advocacy Alliance of Nevada. She previously served as the Policy Director for the ACLU of Nevada where she managed a diverse legislative agenda. She is most proud of her work to limit the transfer of youth under 18 years of age to the adult criminal legal system and to improve living conditions for children in juvenile justice facilities. During law school, she focused on youth law and interned for Legal Services for Children where she represented children in delinquency and dependency matters, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications, and school expulsion proceedings.


The Partnership for America’s Children is a network of state and local child advocacy organizations working to improve policies affecting children — from birth through adulthood — at the local, state, and national level. The Partnership supports the members who make up this powerful network through funding and capacity-building efforts that strengthen policy knowledge, advocacy skills, and organizational development.

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