In the early 1970’s, a number of child welfare provider agencies who were members of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) came together to form a voluntary statewide network in Massachusetts: The MA Child Welfare League of America Executives Group. During the more than 30 years since then, the organization has evolved in its structure and strategic purpose. Agencies joined because of opportunities to network with others involved in the field of child welfare, to share information, and to jointly advocate for public policies – many of the same reasons why organizations are members today.
In 1988, the League developed a dues structure and hired its first staff person. In 1995, the MA Child Welfare League of America Executives Group was incorporated as the Children’s League of Massachusetts. It was established as a 501c(4) organization, allowing it to undertake unlimited advocacy efforts. Its membership was its board, and included both private and public agencies. Although membership in CWLA was urged, it was no longer a requirement for belonging to the Children’s League of Massachusetts.
In 2002, the League undertook a strategic plan that resulted in the expansion of its membership to include family, consumer and faith-based organizations with compatible missions. Four years later, in an effort to increase efficacy, the board began adding staff to the organization, first with a part-time Executive Assistant, and a short time later, a consultant to staff the Policy/Advocacy Committee and our Legislative Committee. By 2011, the board agreed that staffing capacity was at the forefront of their advocacy goals, especially in the face of lingering economic difficulties for families and children, and expanded the staff to include an Associate Director.
In 2015 CLM celebrated its 20th birthday, and celebrated with increased membership. By 2016, the membership initiative had successfully added over 30 members in a 3-year period.
At the end of 2017, CLM took on a leadership change, hiring Tammy Mello, former Executive Director of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Mello soon reorganized the staff structure at CLM to include an Operations Manager, a Director of Public Policy, and a Communications and Policy Support Specialist.
In 2022, Rachel Gwaltney was elevated from CLM's Director of Public Policy to Executive Director. CLM launched a new website to feature its members and its advocacy.