About Us

Safe and Healthy Children • Strong and Stable Families • Thriving and Prosperous Communities

Children’s Trust Fund Alliance Sustained Commitment to Act Against Systemic Racism

As an organization working to help every child and youth in the United States grow up in strong, stable, nurturing families within thriving and prosperous communities, the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance has reaffirmed our commitment to racial justice.

Click HERE to view and download our updated statement adopted by the Alliance Board of Directors on Aug. 17, 2023.

The statement affirms our sustained commitment to act against systemic racism. It outlines progress that the Alliance has made during the past three years and acknowledges we still have much to do to meet our goals of being an anti-racist organization.

We urge others to join us in these efforts. Please email us at info@ctfalliance.org if you would like to work in partnership to address these challenges. Our commitment to anti-racism is not a trend. We affirm our commitment to working for racial justice and to becoming a strong anti-racist organization. It is an essential component of achieving our mission.

What We Do

Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, formerly known as the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, is the national membership organization for state children’s trust funds.

We support a dynamic NATIONAL NETWORK

The Alliance provides leadership and support for a dynamic national network of children’s trust and prevention funds who are catalysts for positive changes in systems, policies and practices in their states to promote well-being for children, families and communities.

We are a PREVENTION HUB providing critical content to a broad audience

The Alliance provides trainings, publications and other supports to ensure broad audiences understand the role each of us can play in strengthening families and communities and preventing child abuse and neglect.

We offer multiple training opportunities to educate professionals, policymakers, community members and parents. Our national network of more than 1,000 certified trainers uses the Alliance’s curriculum to equip front-line practitioners with a strengths-based approach to build protective factors. Our groundbreaking approach about child neglect prevention has increased understanding that communities and society can neglect children and families and provided much-needed tools that allow us all to take action to promote well-being throughout the social ecology.

We strengthen and model PARENT PARTNERSHIPS in all that we do

The Alliance promotes and supports strong partnerships with parents through meaningful roles, structures and ongoing partnerships.

We are THOUGHT LEADERS in promoting the importance of prevention in systems and organizations

The Alliance engages with systems, organizations, researchers, individuals and policymakers to promote a strong prevention focus in all areas that touch the lives of families. In all of our partnerships and collaborations across multiple fields of work, the Alliance is the voice of prevention.

We remain strong in our OUTREACH

The Alliance ensures that it has a solid foundation, strong organizational structure, expert staff and sufficient funding so that its dynamic contributions will continue and grow. The Alliance joins with funding partners who share common goals, and we collaborate with leaders in the prevention field to achieve our mission. The Alliance board of directors is actively engaged in their roles of oversight, policy and direction for the organization.

Alliance Overview

The Children’s Trust Fund Alliance is the only national organization that provides support to state children’s trust and prevention funds. Click HERE to download an overview of our work, strategies and mission.

Theory of Change

In 2018, the Alliance developed a Theory of Change that lays the foundation for future work. The Alliance works closely with its board of directors, members and parent partners to implement strategic plans based on its theory of change.

The five priority areas in the Alliance’s theory of change are:

  1. Maintain, strengthen and leverage state CHILDREN’S TRUST and PREVENTION FUNDS
  2. EDUCATE broad audiences about prevention, and serve as a hub for prevention science, practice and policy
  4. Engage and strengthen PREVENTION in systems and organizations that impact families
  5. Strengthen and maintain the ALLIANCE


A board of directors, consisting of representatives from state children’s trust funds, governs the Alliance. The board provides leadership, vision and guidance in all of the Alliance’s work. Their important state-level roles as staff, board members and parent partners help ensure strong connections to the ongoing needs and interests of the national network. The Alliance benefits from their expertise and experience.

A team of staff and consultants carry out the Alliance’s mission and strategic plan. Each member of the Alliance team brings experience and in-depth knowledge in multiple topical areas.Team members link closely with Alliance membership, with parent partners and with state and national collaborators to achieve organizational goals.


The Alliance has an active committee structure where its members and others with needed expertise contribute to the growth and vitality of the organization. The committees help shape the Alliance’s work and provide a national platform for members to interact with peers throughout the nation.

  • Communications Committee – Advises the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance on strategies to promote the Alliance to external and internal audiences, to improve communications among its members and to support messaging about preventing child maltreatment.
  • Finance Committee– Conducts monthly reviews of the Alliance fiscal reports and assures that the Alliance’s finances are managed effectively and reviews annually the organization’s fiscal management and policies. The Board Treasurer chairs the Finance Committee.
  • Governance Committee– Ensures board effectiveness and that board policies are observed; nominates new board members; implements board development and growth; and ensures board members receive orientation and support. The Vice-President of the Board chairs the Governance Committee.
  • Membership Committee – Recruits new members and retains existing members; monitors and assesses the needs of members; and develops activities that promote active and engaged membership.
  • Public Policy Committee – Guides and supports the Alliance’s work in the public policy arena to proactively advance policies and legislation that bolster the strength and influence of state children’s trust funds and help build conditions where all families thrive and children grow up free from child maltreatment.


  • Ensure all states have a strong and effective children’s trust or prevention fund capable of leading and investing in strategies, policies and best practices that prevent child abuse and neglect before it occurs.

  • Initiate and engage in national efforts that help State Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds in strengthening families to prevent child abuse and neglect.

  • Promote and support a system of services, laws, practices and attitudes that supports families by enabling them to provide their children with safe, healthy and nurturing childhoods.


For 30 years, the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance has served as the national membership organization for state children’s trust and funds. We are:

  • A HUB for all elements in the prevention field
  • A THOUGHT LEADER in the movement to strengthen and promote the well-being of children, families, and communities
  • A strong PARTNER with PARENTS

In 2009, when the Alliance celebrated its 20th anniversary, we developed a history of our organization which contains a timeline of the child abuse and neglect prevention movement in the U.S. That historical document is available for downloading here.

Ray E. Helfer, MD, Award

The "Father" of Children's Trust Funds

The late Ray E. Helfer, MD, is considered the “father” of children’s trust and prevention funds, because of his conceptualization of special funds that could be used to ensure that our nation’s children grow up nurtured, safe and free from harm.

Dr. Helfer’s lifelong dedication to children serves as a model for all citizens. This award, sponsored by the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Child Abuse, was established in his honor and is presented each year at the Alliance’s Annual Membership Conference to a distinguished pediatrician for his or her contribution to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. All nominations must be submitted by representatives of children’s trust or prevention funds. For more information on Dr. Helfer, please visit the Ray Helfer Society.

2023 Award Honoree:

Elizabeth N. Dawson, MD, FAAP

Dr. Dawson is a rural primary care pediatrician at Troy Pediatric Clinic & Collegiate Health in Troy, Alabama, and founder of the Troy Resilience Project (TRP). Her work is driven by her study of the pathophysiology of adversity and belief in the healing power of resilience.

The Ray E. Helfer, MD, Award is presented each year by the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to highlight the contributions of a pediatrician in local and national efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. Dr. Helfer, a pediatrician, educator and pioneer in the prevention of child abuse, conceived the idea that “Children’s Trust Funds” should be created in each state to ensure that our nation’s children grow up nurtured, safe and free from harm. Every year, state children’s trust and prevention funds provide more than $300 million in direct funding, technical assistance and other supports to statewide and community-based child abuse prevention strategies.

Since 2019, the Troy Resilience Project has served families, engaged community members and motivated leaders to support the continuous process of building a resilient community. TRP’s services reach nearly 1,000 people annually and include trauma-informed mental health coordination in local schools, parent training, workforce development and community education.

2011 Ray E. Helfer Award recipient Marsha Raulerson, MD, FAAP, a long-time pediatrician in Brewton, Alabama, introduced Dr. Dawson to Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) Alabama Executive Director Sallye Longshore in 2019. Sallye and Elizabeth wasted no time joining forces for advocacy in Alabama. In 2019, they co-facilitated a screening of the film Resilience and an ACEs panel discussion at the Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AL-AAP) Annual Meeting. Their relationship led to growing partnerships between CTF Alabama, AL-AAP, Childrens of Alabama, and pediatric practices across Alabama. Dr. Dawson and Linda Lee, Executive Director of AL-AAP, partnered with Sallye to secure one of only three national AAPPCAA (Prevent Child Abuse America) collaboration grants. Dr. Dawson and Sallye presented their collaborative work at the 2023 PCAA national conference.

Since 2021, CTF’s generous support has enabled the Troy Resilience Project to provide new services to children and families: trauma-informed education services in nine Head Start centers, a Healthy Families America home-visiting program covering seven counties and an affordable, high-quality early learning center in an underserved rural community.

Dr. Dawson became the leader in trauma-informed pediatrics in Alabama by utilizing expertise gained through the AAP Trauma- Informed Pediatric Care and Resilience Project ECHO and certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Dr. Dawson uses these principles in her practice and in assisting in practice transformation statewide.

Dr. Dawson is the content expert for the 2024 AL-AAP/Alabama Child Health Improvement Alliance’s Trauma Informed Care and Resiliency QI collaborative (TICR). The goal of TICR is to build capacity for trauma-informed, strengths-based pediatrics. This project will lay the groundwork for resilience-building throughout Alabama as CTF and AL-AAP continue to partner for prevention.

Dr. Dawson was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama and earned a BS in biology from the University of the South. She earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Dr. Dawson completed pediatrics residency at Loyola, Chicago in 2008 and then joined Charles Henderson Child Health Center in Troy, Alabama, where she served as medical director from 2017-2022. Dr. Dawson joined Dothan Pediatric Health Care Network in 2023 and practices primary care pediatrics at Troy Pediatric Clinic & Collegiate Health. She currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer and QI chair of AL-AAP.

Dr. Dawson is a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, plays in the local tennis league, and loves reading with her book club. She is a proud band, BETA, theatre, wrestling and soccer mom. Her husband Caleb, children Josephine (14) and David (12), and parents Dan and Penelope’s commitment to family and advocacy make Dr. Dawson’s work joyful and possible.