Angie Schwartz & Brian Blalock

Angie Schwartz is the Policy Director at the Alliance for Children’s Rights, where she works to improve the well-being of children living in poverty and those placed in foster care or at-risk of dependency. Ms. Schwartz has been instrumental in shaping California’s child welfare system, spearheading key reforms including the extension of foster care to age 21; revamping foster care to be fully inclusive of kinship families; overhauling the state’s foster care rate system to be based on a child’s needs; and improving access to disability benefits for young people in foster care.  She is a trusted advisor to state and local agencies on state and federal funding strategies, a leader on thoughtful implementation of child welfare reforms, and a leading voice in advocating for relative caregivers. She has served as lead and co-counsel in impact cases aimed at securing appropriate benefits and supports for vulnerable children and families. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from American University, and having earned a J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School, Ms. Schwartz is the author of many articles exploring the intersection of child welfare, poverty, and safety net programs. 

Prior to being appointed Cabinet Secretary of the NM Children, Youth & Families Department, Brian Blalock was the law and policy director at Tipping Point Community, a Bay Area nonprofit that works to educate, employ, house and support impoverished residents. At Bay Area Legal Aid, which provides low-income people with free civil legal assistance, Secretary Blalock founded and directed the Youth Justice Project, providing direct representation for at-risk youth, and co-founded the Alameda County Collaborative Court, a specialty juvenile mental health court. He was the co-founder of the YPACT Youth Leadership Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Cambridge, MA, developing curriculum for at-risk youth focusing on harm reduction and youth development. He has been a lecturer on youth law and policy at Stanford Law School, a teacher training instructor at Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House, and an English and social studies teacher in the Bronx. Secretary Blalock earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, a master’s of theological studies from Harvard University, a master’s of South Asian studies from Columbia University and a law degree from Stanford.