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February 28, 2012

Dear Colleague:

I hope this email finds you well and that you are having a great week. It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Janice DeFrances, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, will be the closing luncheon speaker at COA’s 2012 National Conference in August.

Dr. DeFrances is an experienced scholastic leader and mental health advocate with a proven history of innovative and effective program development and team building. Prior to being appointed director in July 2011, Dr. DeFrances served for thirty five years in both the public and private sector as a school principal, special education director, and CEO of Harmony Hill School, Inc. – a COA accredited organization.

Dr. DeFrances holds two masters degrees, one in special education and the other in counseling, a doctorate in administration/special education, and a post-doctorate in neuropsychology. In addition to her duties at the Department of Children, Youth and Families, she continues to work as an educator and researcher, with a focus in the areas of child development, holistic education, and mental health, while applying theory to practice with the goal of developing effective social service programs for children, youth and families. Dr. DeFrances has been an adjunct faculty member in the graduate program for Teaching and Learning in Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design for twenty-five years.

On behalf of the COA Board and staff, I would like to welcome Dr. DeFrances to COA’s 2012 National Conference.



Joseph Seoane
Director of Client Relations
Chair, COA Conference Committee

Richard Klarberg
President & Chief Executive Officer
Timothy F. Noelker
Chair, Board of Trustees
Sponsoring Organizations
Alliance for Children and Families
Association of Jewish Family and
Children's Agencies
Catholic Charities USA
Children's Home Society of America
Child Welfare League of America
Foster Family-based
Treatment Association
Joint Council on International
Children's Services
Lutheran Services in America
National Council for Adoption
National Foundation for
Credit Counseling

National Network for Youth

National Organization of State
Associations for Children
Volunteers of America
Council on Accreditation
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