News & Perspectives

News & Perspectives

Get to Know Children's Trust Executive Director Jenn Valenzuela


With a background that combines clinical social work and public health, recently appointed Executive Director Jennifer Valenzuela brings a uniquely valuable perspective to child abuse prevention. Since her introduction at last year’s Gala, Jenn has been hard at work behind the scenes. Now, she’s ready to share her vision for the Children’s Trust with you.

Jennifer Valenzuela

What brought you to child abuse prevention work?

It’s really a full circle. My career started at Boston Children’s Hospital working with young families. The second chapter of my career was focused on health equity and the role social determinants of health play on a person’s health.  

When I see stories of abuse and neglect, I hope those guardians and children are receiving quality services, but I also wonder, “What could have prevented this in the first place?” The Children’s Trust is digging at the root of the problem and that is important work.    

Where do you see the Children's Trust going under your leadership?

This year, we’re going through a strategic planning process that will inform our future. There are so many factors that play into keeping children safe, and it’s up to us to work with stakeholders to create a collaborative approach for determining the next chapter for the Children's Trust. 

Wherever we land, we are committed to understanding the impact that race, ethnicity, gender, and other factors have on our work. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) will provide the foundation of every conversation, every decision, and every program we implement.   

In the next five years, our work will look different than it does today. You will see us working more at the systems level across the state while continuing to have experience with individuals to inform our work.  

What kind of leader are you?

I often describe myself as a “servant-leader.” For those that aren’t familiar with this style, my focus is on the growth and well-being of the team and our partners. This plays to my training in social work and ensures that those who are impacted by the Children’s Trust are put first in decisions, power is shared, and I am always working with the understanding that building up those around me is the only way to go. The stronger the team, the stronger the organization.  

What's one thing you would like supporters to know about the Children's Trust?

Children's Trust staff Jenn Valenzuela and Stacey Nee (right) accepting a donation from Global Partners.

There is a misnomer that because we receive state funding, there is no need to financially support the Children's Trust. The reality is that while state dollars support some of our programming, a great deal of our work depends on private funding, including the critical work we do with fathers across the state. Private donors give us the opportunity to be innovative, visionary, and nimble with our child abuse and neglect prevention work.