Annual Award Gala

2014 Outstanding Award Recipients

2014 Outstanding Award Recipients

The 2014 Outstanding Service Award Recipients are:


TraciSmTraci LaLiberte, PhD
Traci is the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) where she oversees the Center’s research and training. Her research focuses on child welfare practice and policy with special interest in child and parent disabilities, child wellbeing, educational success and stability for at risk youth, comprehensive family assessment, as well as permanency and post adoption services for children in out-of-home care. Traci has served as principal investigator on studies of child welfare and educational experiences of high-risk youth, evidence-based practices in treatment foster care settings, and child welfare leadership. As an expert in the field she has been called upon several times to testify before Congress on behalf of children. Traci has been instrumental in organizing the Child Wellbeing Summit through CASCW which brought leaders in child welfare together from across the state and nation, demonstrating her passion to advance the knowledge of well being for youth, their caregivers and their therapists.  Traci sees the center as a resource to the community and reaches out in creative ways to build partnerships that are mutually beneficial and result in improved experiences and outcomes for children and families. Traci is a passionate advocate for children and works tirelessly to advance their safety, permanence and wellbeing through her research, publications, speaking and through her leadership.



Jane Ellison, MS, LMFT, IMH-E(IV)
Jane is on the faculty of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program at the University of Minnesota and co-developed and co-teaches an online course “Working with Parents with Special Considerations” for the Center for Early Education and Development. She is a community leader in early childhood mental health with more than thirty years experience working with young children and their families, including clinical work in private practice, parent education in Early Childhood Family Education, home visiting, family literacy, child abuse and neglect prevention programs and a domestic violence shelter. Her work also includes, clinical work with children birth through age five and their families, Project Manager for Greater St. Cloud Area Thrive, and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist for the Sauk Rapids/Rice ECFE. Jane is a collaborative leader who quietly facilitates opportunities for others. A sample of key programs developed by Jane on behalf of young children and their families include, Child Care Connections Project working to provide support and consultation to local child care providers; Enhancement Project serving young children with social-emotional challenges in early care and education settings; and the First Steps attachment-based curriculum to promote healthy relationships between very young children and their parents. Jane is committed to multidisciplinary collaboration and works tirelessly to integrate infant and early childhood mental health principles and understanding into a variety of settings.


donShelbySmDon Shelby
Don, a retired WCCO news anchor and reporter, is the volunteer chair of the Washburn Center for Children’s Capital Campaign.  Through his efforts and leadership the campaign raised over 24 million to build a much-needed new facility. Don was not just a “celebrity” who lent his name and reputation to the project.  He used his connections and relationships to access community leaders and philanthropists. He had countless personal meetings to share his experience, the importance of addressing children’s mental health issues and the work that Washburn Center for Children was doing to change children’s lives. Early on, Don identified certain aspects of Washburn’s children’s mental health programs that ultimately became critical components of their successful campaign. His passion and advocacy for expanding Washburn’s nationally recognized clinical training program, as well as his keen recognition of the therapeutic benefit of providing a natural “healing environment” influenced the design and construction of the new facility. Under Don’s leadership the new facility has been shaped by his belief that nature can support healing both with physical health and mental health issues, and by his passion for sustainability and the reduction of energy consumption. This December, Washburn Center for Children will move into its new facility, representing a community coming together, led by Don Shelby and his passionate conviction in giving families a chance at increased happiness and success for their children.