2024 National Title IV-E Roundtable

Roundtable Keynote Speakers:

Rebecca Jones Gaston, MSW

Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

Rebecca Jones Gaston is the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, at the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration on Children, Youth, and Families manages the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau.

Before joining the Biden Administration via confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2022, Jones Gaston was the child welfare director for the state of Oregon’s Department of Human Services that oversees child protection, foster care, and adoption services, a position she held since 2019. During her time as director, Oregon launched a major transformation built on trauma-informed, family and community-centered, and culturally responsive programs and services.

Prior to joining the Oregon senior management team, Jones Gaston served as the executive director of the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Social Services Administration with oversight of child welfare and adult services. She has worked in the field of human services and child welfare for over 25 years as a social worker, advocate, therapist, consultant, and administrator. Previously, she was a director with Casey Family Programs providing technical assistance to child welfare agencies throughout the United States. She served as the national campaign director for AdoptUsKids, a collaboration with the Children’s Bureau and the National Ad Council. This major campaign, which she now oversees as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, continues to help increase the numbers of foster and adoptive families across the country.

A proud mother of two young adults, Jones Gaston holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Jones Gaston is the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, at the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration on Children, Youth, and Families manages the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau.
Before joining the Biden Administration via confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2022, Jones Gaston was the child welfare director for the state of Oregon’s Department of Human Services that oversees child protection, foster care, and adoption services, a position she held since 2019. During her time as director, Oregon launched a major transformation built on trauma-informed, family and community-centered, and culturally responsive programs and services.
Prior to joining the Oregon senior management team, Jones Gaston served as the executive director of the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Social Services Administration with oversight of child welfare and adult services. She has worked in the field of human services and child welfare for over 25 years as a social worker, advocate, therapist, consultant, and administrator. Previously, she was a director with Casey Family Programs providing technical assistance to child welfare agencies throughout the United States. She served as the national campaign director for AdoptUsKids, a collaboration with the Children’s Bureau and the National Ad Council. This major campaign, which she now oversees as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, continues to help increase the numbers of foster and adoptive families across the country.
A proud mother of two young adults, Jones Gaston holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Corey B. Best

Founder, Community Curator  – www.miningforgoldcommunity.com

Corey B. Best is a Black father, community organizer, activist, and leader. Originally from Washington, DC, Corey now resides in Florida. Corey has attached himself to “justice doing” — a movement and never-ending journey of being guided by the principled struggle to advance racial justice within this nation’s child welfare and human service delivery systems. This work puts Corey in front of more than 10,000 professionals annually, and has afforded him with the fundamental knowledge about the importance of connecting to something bigger than himself–allowing perspective, pain, truth, joy, and vulnerability to surface in search of meaningful, collective impact. In all his endeavors, Corey brings a deepened historical and contemporary analysis of the invention of race, racism, systems of oppression and how those systems interconnect to produce white advantage gaps. 

Corey founded Mining For Gold in 2020. Mining For Gold is part of the larger movement that is in the active pursuit of racial justice, liberation, and freedom. The idea for Mining For Gold is directly influenced by the 405 years of racialized arrangement in our communities, and that we all have pieces of metaphorical gold flowing within us. The mantra is, sometimes we must sift through pounds of dirt to find an ounce of gold. As a practice and a discipline, Mining For Gold is held accountable to holding gathering spaces with communities and institutions, and is rooted in justice-centered culture building as the most effective strategy to achieve relational and communal health. Mining For Gold embraces the universal application of co-design and community organizing to guide child and family serving systems toward a more robust, ideal, and healing way of thinking and practicing. This approach centers the knowledge, proximity, and experiences of those who are most impacted. 

Corey was awarded the 2021 Champion for Children’s Award in Advancing Equity, the 2022 Outstanding Service in the Advancement of Cultural Competency in Child Maltreatment Prevention and Intervention Award and was recognized as a 2022 Breakout Star by Evolve Strategy Group. In partnership with child welfare leaders, communities and parents, Corey has curated the racially just and equitable Authentic Family Engagement and Strengthening Approach (AFES). Since 2020, Mining For Gold has held a brave container to explore the impact of racialized America with over 3,000 child and family serving leaders and staff. 

Mining For Gold launched the Liberated Voice Exchange (LVE) in 2022. LVE is the home to Audio Nuggets podcast, the Mining For Gold cypher. In this all-Black container, we witness and experience how traveling the stoney road toward freedom is a journey trekked with love, resistant abolitionism, dignity, and revolutionary muse makers. When one has eavesdropped on the political analysis, they’ve come to know that on Audio Nuggets we strive to bend the arc on non-linear modes through conversations that tug and pull from the best of who we are. We give ourselves rooted permission to tell a collective story of the principled struggle for liberation.