Debra Lancaster is the Executive Director of the Center for Women and Work. Debra most recently served as the Chief Program Officer for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, where she led efforts to modernize DCF’s service array. At DCF she focused on integrating evidence-supported programming to support women, children, and families challenged by trauma, poverty, intimate partner violence, and mental health and substance use disorders. Debra’s efforts to improve the well-being of children in foster care received national attention. She has a strong interest in research-practice partnerships and the direct care workforce.
Prior to her service in Trenton, Debra spent ten years leading a training and education consortium that brought unions, employers and other organizations together to promote employee health and safety. In her younger days, she also worked as a union organizer. Debra holds degrees in Women’s Studies and Labor and Industrial Relations, both from Rutgers.