S2, E1: Supporting children and families with Will Jones Thompson

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Will Jones has devoted his career to child welfare, juvenile justice and behavioral health services in residential- and community-based programming. He joins the podcast today to share insight into how to address the social determinants of health across a wide domain of human services work.

Will has been at the helm for the launch of four new National Evidence Based Practices- Friends of the Children, Quality Parenting Initiative, CARE, Strengthening Families Initiative, a partnership between CMS and Thompson to provide mental health services to its alternative education middle school-Turning Point Academy, and a partnership between Cardinal, Thompson and Mecklenburg County to bring an adolescent girls PRTF to Mecklenburg that will include services to adolescent females that are victims of human trafficking.

He joined Thompson with nearly 23 years of human services experience. Fifteen of those years were in senior- and executive-level leadership in public and private agencies. 

He emphasizes innovation and creativity in solving complex problems, often through public and private partnerships, while leading high-performing, cross-functional teams.

Will started his career in 1994 with the Orange County Youth & Family Services Division in Florida where he spent eight years and led the organization to become the second public child welfare agency in Florida to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

At the Children’s Home Society of Florida in Orlando – where Will was director of program operations from 2005 to 2008 – he had overall responsibility for more than 100 child welfare staff, a budget of $15 million and day-to-day operations of programs including adoption, foster care, two emergency shelters and more. 

As senior vice president of One Hope United in Orlando, Fla., he was responsible for overseeing child protective services in seven Florida counties.

From 2012 to 2015, he was chief operating officer at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit child and family service organizations. As a member of the executive leadership team, he helped generate substantial national growth in direct service work and consulting. Eckerd had an annual budget of $185 million, and Will oversaw more than 40 programs in 11 states, including North Carolina. 

In 2015, Will joined SAS, the largest privately owned software company in the world, as human services industry consultant. At SAS, he worked closely with state and local agencies and leaders to solve problems and improve outcomes using data analytics. 

He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida. Will and his wife, Yereely, and their five children live in Waxhaw.