Jennifer Behnam is President of Bridging Resources and Individuals Together for Excellence (BRITE) Consulting Services, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in strategic consulting, grant writing and program development in the social services sector. BRITE Consulting Services partners with non-profits and government entities to secure funding for new and existing programs and offers training and consultation in improving state child welfare systems.
Jennifer began her career as a case manager for dual-diagnosis females at a homeless shelter in Jacksonville, Florida. Although Jennifer’s career encompasses a wide range of direct service, management and leadership responsibilities at nonprofits, the majority of her experience is in public child welfare, with children and families involved in the foster care system. During her 9 years at Family Support Services of North Florida, the lead agency for child welfare in Jacksonville Florida, Jennifer held numerous positions including Compliance Reviewer; Trainer; Quality Assurance Director; Program Services Director; and Chief Program Officer.
In 2006, Jennifer created and implemented Duval County’s Family Preservation Program entitled, “Strengthening Ties and Empowering Parents” (STEPS). The STEPS program served over 4,500 children per year and continues as a vital program in the community. As Chief Program Officer, she was also an instrumental member of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Redesign Team that achieved the safe reduction of children in foster care by 62% in under 18-months. As a true advocate for families, she led the FSS Family Preservation Team by using a strength based-family centered approach focused on keeping families together.
Since 2010, Jennifer’s consulting practice has focused on providing strategic consulting that involves assessing, coordinating and leading change in policy, practice and programs in state child welfare systems. As a consultant for Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused solely on reforming foster care, Jennifer has consulted in over a dozen states including: Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Kansas, California and Maryland. She is recognized for her passion around permanency for older children in care and has trained and presented nationally on the importance of relentlessly pursuing permanency for all children.
Jennifer is the 2007 recipient of the Child Abuse Prevention Award by the Florida Times Union and was named one of Jacksonville Business Journals Up & Comers (40 Future Leaders Under 40). Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (BA) from the University of North Florida and a Masters in Social Work (MSW), with a concentration in Social Policy and Administration, from Florida State University.