Ann R. Smith, JD, MBA is Executive Director of African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc. (AFCAMP) commonly known as AFCAMP Advocacy for Children, a parent-led nonprofit organization headquartered in Hartford, CT. Providing resources, training and advocacy, AFCAMP promotes authentic family and youth voice to inform decision-making within child-serving systems including education, juvenile justice, child welfare and children’s behavioral health. AFCAMP trained parents have served on various local and state-level committees and advisory groups. Former parents and staff work as peer support, family advocacy specialists and other roles within some of the very systems that AFCAMP works to change. Celebrating 20 years of service, pursuing equity fuels AFCAMP’s work to transform systems and reduce the adverse and disproportionate impacts experienced by youth of color and youth with disabilities. A multi-level approach is employed to reform systemic policies and practices that proliferate inequitable education, justice, health and economic outcomes for children and families of color with a particular focus on those that are Black. Individual empowerment, family engagement, and policy and legislative advocacy are important tools of system change efforts. Collaboration with community partners, system leaders, and service providers continues to be a key element of AFCAMP’s success. Ann serves in multiple statewide roles, including:
• Tri-Chair, Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board
• Leadership Team Member, Connecticut Family Schools Partnerships
• Member, Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate Advisory Collaborative
• Member, Connecticut Justice Alliance Steering Committee
• Member, Office of Health Strategy, Consumer Advisory Council.