Children’s commission names first executive director

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The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana has tapped an individual who has experience working in nonprofits on issues facing youngsters and teens to be its first executive director.

Julie Whitman, current vice president of statewide engagement and advocacy for the Indiana Youth Institute, will join the commission Sept. 11. As executive director, she will provide support to the commission, including coordinating among the members, the executive committee and the numerous task forces. She will also be responsible for ensuring the executive of the commission’s strategic plan.

The commission was established in 2013 by former Gov. Mike Pence. Members include Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. along with Mary Willis, chief administration officer of the Indiana Supreme Court and Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Whitman has been with the Indiana Youth Institute since April 2010. She previously was director of special projects at the National Center for Victims of Crime. According to the commission’s announcement of her appointment, Whitman has led numerous research projects, provided training and technical assistance, and written federal grants. Also, she has experience collaborating with schools, youth organizations, law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim service providers.

Whitman holds a master of social work degree from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

The executive director position was created by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2017 session. Committee member and Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis, authored House Enrolled Act 1080 which passed through both chambers with little opposition.

Three pages long, the law requires the executive director have a college degree and meet the qualifications the commission considers necessary. Also, the Office of Judicial Administration will cover the compensation package.

A fiscal analysis of the legislation noted the salary and fringe benefits for executive director positions in the judicial branch range between $145,000 and $152,000.

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