"My life’s work is to erase the line between power and powerlessness—leveling the playing field for vulnerable families and their children."
Molly Tierney brings more than 25 years of experience to her role as Accenture's Child Welfare Industry Lead in North America. Her experience includes a decade leading the Baltimore City Department of Social Services—once considered among the worst systems in the country, especially with regards to foster care. While there, she adopted an unconventional perspective and posed a novel question to stakeholders.
“For too long, governments, stakeholders and case workers asked, ‘How do we fix the people?’ after removing a child from a home and placing them in foster care,” Molly recalls. “When we asked, ‘What’s the earliest point of intervention that child welfare services can engage to help keep families together?’ instead, we started yielding positive and measurable results.”
Within five years, the number of children in foster care was reduced by 72%; orphanage occupancy was reduced by 89%; and completed adoptions increased by 59%. Child welfare services once considered the worst became the leading model of change.
Since joining Accenture in 2018, Molly has continued to embrace positive disruption with a singular goal: that every child has a safe and permanent family they call their own.
She leads Accenture’s Child Welfare team in delivering rapid-cycle consulting services and designing innovative technologies with and for caseworkers, supervisors and other stakeholders throughout the child welfare ecosystem. These technologies include the Accenture Case Insights Solution (ACIS) and the award-winning Accenture Virtual Experience Solution (AVEnueS). AVEnueS offers virtual reality experiences to human services case workers, supervisors and other stakeholders. Through various scenarios, people can build their capacity for navigating complexity and nuance—including addressing racial equity and providing trauma-informed care.
Although Molly holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree from Loyola University, she credits real-life experiences as the most effective classroom. She began her career in community organizing with vulnerable populations throughout Appalachia, where she learned that opportunity is not doled out equitably in our country.
"That was the catalyst for what I consider to be my life’s work: to improve human delivery systems to vulnerable communities," Molly recalls.
When Molly and her wife decided to start their family, she knew their journey would start in foster care, and in 2013, they adopted their daughter. Molly is grateful that the days in which her family would have been denied recognition or acceptance are behind them and she continues to forge new paths for others to follow.