NFYI Wendy Smith

Chair of the Board

Wendy Smith Ph.D

Wendy B. Smith, Ph.D., LCSW, is a retired clinical professor of social work and associate dean of curriculum development and assessment at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She taught courses on child and adolescent development transition age youth, among others. She had a private practice in psychotherapy for over 35 years, specializing in the treatment of individuals, couples, and survivors of childhood maltreatment.

Dr. Smith is the former chair and now a commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families. She chairs the board of directors of the National Foster Youth Institute and is a member of the Foundation Board of the Venice Family Clinic. the Advisory Committee of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, and an advocate for individuals incarcerated for crimes committed as juveniles.

Dr. Smith’s book, Youth Leaving Foster Care: A developmental, relationship-based approach to practice, published by Oxford University Press in 2011, is the text for courses on social work practice with youth leaving foster care. The book integrates her extensive clinical, teaching, research, and administrative experience in a multidimensional approach to the needs of former foster youth.
Dr. Smith has published academic articles on adolescent brain development and lectures on child and adolescent development, effects of trauma and maltreatment, and the transition from foster care.

She is currently writing a book about childhood trauma and juvenile crime based on extensive interviews with formerly incarcerated individuals.

Awards
  • The Nancy Daly Founder Award
  • The 2013 United Friends of the Children Award
  • The National Foster Institute 2016 Champion of Children and Youth Award
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