A Leader of Vision Addie D. Williams

Addie Williams

Addie D. Williams, JD, MSW, started with Spaulding for Children in 1996 and served as president and CEO from 2000 to 2017. She put in place many of the systems that today distinguish Spaulding nationally. She built a team of excellence; unlocked opportunities for the agency; built relationships with families, community, and government agencies; and created an environment where people are supported and rewarded.

Staffing is often a challenge in the child welfare field and Spaulding was no different when she arrived in 1996 as program director in Child and Family Services. State funding and licensing were both changing. Ms. Williams led the charge of developing new policies and procedures to improve everything from caseloads to budgeting and reporting.

Ms. Williams instituted new systems which standardized reporting documentation. She developed new training both for staff and foster parents which met and exceeded existing standards. She was successful in getting Spaulding accredited at a time when even the state of Michigan was not. With that accreditation she pursued and secured new federal grants.

“Spaulding was a wonderful place to work, and I learned so much from the board, our staff and the children and families we served,” Ms. Williams said. “Spaulding is unique in their approach to their team members.”

Ms. Williams worked closely with the Spaulding Board of Directors to increase funding, develop new ways to introduce Spaulding to the community. And Spaulding has become known as a resource for evidence-based information across the county.

“When the agency did well and achieved or exceeded goals, we all shared in the success,” Ms. Williams said. “Transparency was key. Goals and budgets were shared, and everyone knew they had a role and a stake.”

Bringing into the Spaulding offices that same respect and concern for each human being, Ms. Williams also helped create what many today refer to as a “family environment” where personal challenges and successes are shared.

“Staff members knew that they could bring their child to the office if they needed to, and every birthday and promotion was celebrated.”

Addie Williams continues to serve. She is a presenter for the Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) program designed for emerging minority leaders working in the child welfare field. She gets to speak one-on-one with students in her role as an expert providing policy training. She also attends orientation, graduations, and acts as an MPLD “Super Coach.”

Ms. Williams also is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University and maintains her legal practice for a select group of clients. She serves as a board member for Family Care Network and Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Science.

Among Ms. Williams’ greatest joys is spending time with her 4-year granddaughter and visiting her newborn grandson.

We at Spaulding for Children forever are grateful to Addie D. Williams. She shared her vision with us to build an agency built on evidence-based child services. We are proud to continue our mission to protect and support children and our work to build stronger families and communities.