Q&A with Jay Allen

Wayfinder Family Services President & CEO

Jay Allen, president of Wayfinder Family Services, also became CEO of the organization on July 1, 2023. He brings considerable experience to his new role and an unwavering commitment to children.

What is the greatest challenge faced by children and families today?
Poverty, systemic racism and the impact of COVID, combined with the stresses of being in the child welfare system or living with a disability, created an unprecedented need for mental health services among children, youth and adults in Wayfinder’s programs.

The pandemic was devastating for the most vulnerable children and families, including those in Wayfinder’s programs: people of color, low-income families, and those with disabilities.

What three things would you most like to accomplish as CEO of Wayfinder Family Services?
1. I look forward to the day when each of Wayfinder’s clients has equal access to health and well-being, educational success, economic opportunity, and safety and resilience. These four areas are the building blocks of human potential and well-being. The result will be a healthy and equitable society.

2. We are expanding prevention services in the communities we serve. Rather than play catch-up downstream, upstream interventions can avert the need for crisis services. Also, early implementation of our whole-person approach to care will tackle the social drivers of health—the underlying social and physical conditions—that impact the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.

3. I want to continue to mentor great leaders. Wayfinder’s employees are outstanding, and we train some of the best leaders in the social services sector. While we hope that they all stay at Wayfinder, many of our former employees are now in charge of programs and organizations throughout the state, leading change and spreading Wayfinder’s values.


May 15, 2023