Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman will retire as Executive Director of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) on March 31, 2024, after more than 32 years in the role. During her tenure she transformed what was once a small Baptist orphanage with two programs, serving sixty-two people, to a regional powerhouse with 24 programs, serving 53,155 vulnerable children, youth, and families in the National Capital Region. Under her leadership NCCF added fourteen program locations, 300 staff members, and grew the budget by $51M.
A leader and expert in child, youth and family welfare and service delivery models for decades, Dr. Chapman has taught and presented on a wide range of topics including juvenile justice, systems reform in child and family welfare, poverty and homelessness, childhood trauma, domestic violence, and cultural competency. Her most recent research and publication, Black Male Youth Raised in Public Systems: Engagement, Healing, Hope (NASW Press, September 2023) is focused on the direct perspectives of Black male youth removed from their families and placed in public child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Even in retirement, Dr. Chapman will continue pursuing her passion for education and practice. She was recently appointed to a six-year-term as a Trustee for Montgomery College, and has accepted a new role as Senior Fellow for the Institute for Mastery & Integration (IMI), directed by Krystal Holland.
“I would like to thank Dr. Chapman on behalf of the entire NCCF Board of Trustees,” says Lewis I. Askew, Jr., Board President. “Her incredible knowledge in this field and her outstanding leadership have been the backbone of NCCF’s mission and growth. Her stewardship has permitted the critical transformation of the lives of thousands of underserved children, youth, and families in this region.”
NCCF’s Board of Trustees has appointed Ralph Belk, LCSW-C, LICSW, as Dr. Chapman’s successor. Mr. Belk will assume his role as Executive Director on April 1, 2024. He has been with NCCF for the past 25 years, serving as Deputy Executive Director for most of this time, and supporting NCCF’s outstanding growth and development. Mr. Belk holds a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and has over 25 years of administrative and direct practice experience working with high-risk children, youth, and families in the child welfare and human service industry. Case Western Reserve has also recognized Mr. Belk’s contribution to the industry by honoring him with a Professional Achievement Award at its Centennial in 2016. As a youth and family advocate, Mr. Belk ensures that NCCF’s programs respond creatively and ethically to the increasing acuity and complexity of need for the youth and families to be served utilizing trauma-informed and culturally competent interventions. Critically, Mr. Belk has a deep understanding of the essential importance of addressing economic stabilization and individual mental and physical well-being within the parameters of social justice.
“Ralph Belk is the ideal candidate to take on the executive director leadership of NCCF,” says Chapman of her long-time Deputy. “I cannot think of a person more capable, more qualified, and more trustworthy to step up to the helm of this essential institution. This work has been challenging and rewarding, yet even though my time as CEO is ending, the work is not over. I am confident that this 109-year-old agency will endure far into the future, remaining responsive to the community, and that the crucial services that it provides will continue uninterrupted under Ralph’s watch.”