Congressional Coalition On Adoption Institute Names Nancy Kay Blackwell Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C., Apr 9, 2020 – The Board of Directors of Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) announced it has appointed Nancy Kay Blackwell to the position of Executive Director.

NANCY KAY BLACKWELL HIGH RES“The CCAI Board of Directors is very pleased to welcome Nancy to the CCAI team. Her experience, skills, and leadership bring an invaluable depth of knowledge and understanding to CCAI’s work to remove barriers for children in need of families,” said The Honorable Mary L. Landrieu, CCAI Board Chair. “Nancy’s personal passion for children and youth, coupled with her professional expertise in child welfare make her exceptionally qualified to lead CCAI into its third decade.”

Nancy has spent more than 20 years in human services for social and public policy driven organizations in the Greater Baltimore area, Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Her areas of focus include child welfare, early childhood education, family homelessness, poverty issues, faith-based policy, workforce development, and fatherhood initiatives for local, state, and national programs.

Nancy was most recently Special Assistant and Senior Advisor at D.C. Department of Human Services’ Family Services Administration where she led the Rapid Rehousing Task Force and managed a portfolio that included program rules and domestic violence. Prior to this role, Nancy served as Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Baltimore for five years. At CASA, Nancy managed the day-to-day operations, raised the annual operating expenses through grant writing, individual, and corporate giving, and raised the voices of foster youth throughout the city. She was also very active with National CASA Association and chaired their Urban Programs Council to coordinate the views and needs of urban programs nationally.

Nancy has also worked at National Association of Foster Care Children of America, D.C. Child and Family Services, Maryland Interfaith Legislative Committee, Center for Urban Families (formerly Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development), Baltimore City Department of Social Services, and Maryland Department of Human Services. Nancy has a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language and Political Science, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Jurisprudence.

“I feel like my career has led me to CCAI. I hope to bring positive relationships I have built over the years to CCAI’s mission given the unique circumstance we find ourselves in today to meet the urgent need of orphans, adoptees, and foster youth,” said Nancy Kay Blackwell, CCAI Executive Director. “I am looking forward to working with the staff and board to grow the programs.”

For 19 years, CCAI has been an established resource for the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Coalition on Adoption, the United States Congress’ caucus on adoption and permanency for children. CCAI works to provide federal policymakers with the information and resources needed to make the dream of a family a reality for every child through its core programs, including Angels in Adoption®, Foster Youth Internship Program®, and 20/20 Vision delegations.

CCAI is governed by a board of directors whose members include The Honorable Mary L. Landrieu, Senior Policy Advisor at Van Ness Feldman and former U.S. Senator from Louisiana; Susan Neely, President and CEO of American Council of Life Insurers; Russell Sullivan, Shareholder of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Susan Hirschmann, CEO of Williams & Jensen; Brian Graff, CEO of American Retirement Association; Kelly Gage, Senior Philanthropic Advisor of Nomi Network; Kerry Marks Hasenbalg, Founding CCAI Executive Director and CEO of Becoming Foundation, Inc.; Kim Carver, Vice President Government Relations of Gulf Coast Bank; Rick Spielman, General Manager of NFL’s Minnesota Vikings; and Rita Lewis, President of RML Strategies.


The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the legal, social, and financial barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

For more information or to learn more about the work of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, visit or contact or (202) 544-8500.


CCAI’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

We recognize the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we live and work, and in this time of uncertainty, we want to share our current operational plans for the next few weeks. Now more than ever, CCAI acknowledges the importance of our efforts and collaboration as child welfare leaders to protect vulnerable children and support families across the nation and around the world.

  • In order to minimize contact between people, the CCAI staff has been and will continue to work remotely for the next few weeks with full access to email, office phone lines, and work cell phones.
  • Our Congressional Resource Program, which educates and resources Members of Congress and their staff, is in full swing. CCAI is working hard to remotely support the adoption caucus with COVID-19 legislative efforts while Congress is in and out of session.
  • As of today, we plan to hold both the annual Foster Youth Internship Program® this summer (May 25 – July 24, 2020) and Angels in Adoption® Program this fall (September 22 – 23, 2020). However, our decisions moving forward with the FYI Program will be based on whether (1) Congress is hosting congressional internships this summer and (2) if dorm space is available for housing. We continue to daily monitor COVID-19 and will comply with the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), D.C. government, and other national leaders.

Our mission at CCAI is to raise awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving families and to eliminate the legal, social, and financial barriers so that every child knows the love and support of a family. We use our mission to guide us in everything we do and want to share a few resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides specific guidance for households that will be helpful to foster family home providers. The guidance includes ways to plan, prepare, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. See full guidance here.
  • The Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) has created a new forum for professionals dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The forum has spaces for sharing resources and discussing policies and procedures. While only members are allowed to post in the forum, FFTA has opened the resource pages to the public so that they can be viewed and shared. Find the forum here.
  • ChildTrends has information on resources for supporting children’s emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance, recommendations, and resources are provided by child trauma experts at ChildTrends and the University of Massachusetts’ Child Trauma Training Center. Read more here.
  • The National Child and Traumatic Stress Network has created a parent/caregiver guide to helping families cope with COVID-19 and infectious disease outbreaks in the community. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce stress and help calm anxieties. This resource will help parents and caregivers think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect their family — both physically and emotionally — and what they can do to help their family cope. Find the guide here.
  • Chosen Care is coordinating virtual parent-to-parent support groups to help families address the challenges that accompany shelter-in-place and stay-at-home practices. Their live support groups will take place each week with ten minutes of trauma-informed education. The remainder of the hour will be open to questions with their seasoned staff and for participants to provide support to each other, parent-to-parent. The same content will be available at three different times per week. Sign up here. Additionally, the Child Welfare Information Gateway has more parent support groups here.
  • Generations United has developed a fact sheet for grandfamilies and multi-generational families. It includes up-to-date information about the virus, risks for older adults and children, suggestions for staying connected and selfcare, and accessing essential resources. See the full fact sheet here.

Thank you for being part of the extended CCAI family. We wish you and your community health and peace of mind. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you know of any new ideas or collaborative efforts CCAI could engage in or help with to better support children, youth, and young adults without families.