Accenture's Public Service Industry taps into the core operations of the processes and systems governments need to evolve – and equips them with the tools they need to serve its citizens and improve outcomes. By introducing innovation, fresh ideas and modern technology to public sector organizations, Accenture's experts help clients deliver better services and enable leaders to adapt to change.

Molly Tierney is Accenture's Child Welfare Industry Lead in North America. Though she graduated with a bachelor's from the University of North Carolina and a masters from Loyola University, she credits real-life experiences as the most effective classroom.

"I began my career in community organizing with vulnerable populations throughout Appalachia," said Molly. "The most powerful lesson I learned is 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's expertise in child welfare services now spans over 25 years and her innovative approach to working with state agencies is familiar territory. For ten years, Molly was the Director for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, which was once considered among the worst systems in the country – especially with regards to foster care.

Molly adopted an unconventional perspective and posited 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," said Molly. “When we asked, 'What is the earliest point of intervention that child welfare services can engage to help keep families together?' instead, we started yielding positive and measurable results."

By changing the question, Baltimore City's child welfare agency and the families it served experienced a wave of dynamic change. Within five years, the number of children in foster care was reduced by 72%, orphanage occupancy was reduced by 89%, completed adoptions increased by 59% and the child welfare services once considered the worst became the leading model of change.

Molly knew Baltimore City's model would prove beneficial in other states. Accenture agreed and, in 2018, invited her to lead its inaugural efforts to develop child welfare strategy in the Public Services industry. "Once I joined Accenture, I immediately understood why it has a consistent reputation for attracting forward-thinking, global talent," said Molly. "My professional setting changed, but my mission remains intact and is supported by both colleagues and clients."

At Accenture, Molly and her team have reinvented the firm's approach to child welfare. They focus unwaveringly on a single result: that every child has a safe and permanent family they call their own. To that end, they continue to design innovative tools and technology specifically addressing existing needs in child welfare practice. This includes introducing innovative, virtual platforms designed to provide the leaders and professionals serving on the front lines with support as they make strategic, management decisions about a myriad of child welfare issues on a daily basis.

One cutting-edge tool Molly developed is the Accenture Virtual Experience Solution (AVEnueS). This training method is designed to accelerate a caseworker's mastery of their craft. The virtual simulations present scenarios which enables caseworkers to hone their info-gathering and decision- making skills, like when to be more cognizant of safety signals or how to employ new interactive behaviors and communication.

"Our virtual training program is the first of its kind and has already proven its value add by creating a highly skilled workforce better equipped to provide effective solutions," said Molly. "Accenture wants to help clients create sustainable ecosystems, serve its citizens holistically and leverage valuable data as the driving force to reach the best possible results."

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.

When we asked, 'What is the earliest point of intervention that child welfare services can engage to help keep families together?' instead, we started yielding positive and measurable results.


Molly Tierney

Senior Manager – Health & Human Services, North America

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