Meet our Team

Executive Director

Freida S. Baker, MSW

Freida Baker is the Executive Director of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) in Montgomery,  Alabama.  Mrs. Baker was previously Deputy Director of Family Services with the Alabama State Department of Human Resources (DHR). She has worked in child welfare for over 38 years, beginning at DHR as a social worker and retiring as Deputy Director. She participated closely in the implementation of Alabama’s landmark R.C. Consent Decree and has expertise in systems and change management.  She is a certified Federal State Reviewer and has participated in CFSR and QSR reviews nationally since 2000.  She is also LAMM certified through the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute.  She has trained social workers, the judiciary, educators, foster parents, physicians, and other partners across the nation.

Mrs. Baker is an adjunct professor for the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama, and has served as adjunct in Sociology in other college settings. In addition, she has served as guest lecturer for graduate and doctoral classes across the country.  Mrs. Baker received her BA from Auburn University and her MSW from the University of Alabama.

Senior Advisor

Cornelius R. Bird, BA

Cornelius R. Bird is a trainer, coach, curriculum developer and quality service reviewer with more than thirty years of experience in providing consultation services to human service organizations.

Cornelius has led projects to improve the quality of child welfare and children’s behavioral services in multiple states. Cornelius was a co-curriculum developer and facilitator of the New Jersey DCF Fellows program titled, “Managing by Data to Improve Child and Family Outcomes.” He also served as the Project Director for Western Washington University’s Children and Family Services Training Academy where he supervised new worker training and advanced training programs for child welfare personnel.

Additionally, he was a group facilitator at the Domestic Violence Resource Center Men’s Program and is a contributor to the Guidelines for Facilitating Child and Family Team Meetings with Families that have a history of domestic violence.

Senior Advisor

Sue Steib, PhD, LCSW

Sue Steib has over 45 years of child welfare experience including direct practice, agency administration, research, and consultation. Prior to joining the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group as an independent consultant in May 2016, she was a Sr. Director of Strategic Consulting at Casey Family Programs, a position she held for eight years.  During that time, she led CFP’s work in two states and served as part of a consulting team providing support to child welfare systems in 15 states.

From 2001 to 2008, Steib was Director of the Research to Practice Initiative at the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), leading work to synthesize current research in child welfare and related fields while making it accessible to agency leaders and direct practitioners through papers, workshops, and direct consultation.

Steib came to CWLA following a 31-year career in Louisiana’s child welfare system where she served in positions ranging from caseworker to supervisor, ultimately serving as the statewide Child Welfare Program Director. 


Business Manager

Eva Payne

Eva serves as our Business Manager. Eva retired several years ago from a professional career. Throughout her career she has had an ongoing interest in child welfare. After retiring, Eva attended graduate school pursuing a master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has mentored several children and youth in Foster Care and served on the Board of a group home, giving her unique insight into the needs of these young people, and a well-informed perspective on the challenges faced by children in foster care. She has a real appreciation for the work of CWG.

Eva’s business career was in a service industry in which fiscal success was critical. Project management and time and budget tracking are areas in which Eva has a great deal of experience and skills, and she is eager to apply those to the work of CWG. Eva hopes to use this experience to help the organization streamline financial project management in order to help CWG strengthen efficiency. Eva is thrilled to be a part of CWG, and we are fortunate to have her.


Featured Scholars

CWG Supports Field Placement Opportunities

CWG is honored to support students with a field placement as they pursue a BSW or MSW. A placement with the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group provides students with a macro-level view on current and historical child welfare policy and practice. CWG offers students the opportunity to engage with a variety of organizations and individuals across the U.S. who are working tirelessly to improve outcomes for children and their families.

CWG has hosted students from Alabama State University, Auburn University, Troy University, and the University of Alabama.

Current Placements


Prior Placements




CWG's Board of Directors:

Thomas Bernier, President

Jerry Glover, Vice-President

Thelma Braswell, Treasurer

Andy Hornsby, Secretary

Eric Graves

Ron Marks

Stephanie Wander 

Marie Youngpeter

Paul Vincent – Advisor to the Board

Nina Kynard – Advisor to the Board