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Graham Wright, M.Phil, MSW

Graham has more than 40 years of extensive clinical and program development experience in child welfare. His background includes work in local government social service, nonprofits and legislative advocacy at the state level. Graham is a program architect who founded the first therapeutic foster and adoption agency in California, and was its President and CEO for fifteen years. He designed and implemented the only wraparound program specifically for families who had adopted from the foster care system. These adopted children were all at serious risk of being placed in residential care, and adoption wraparound was able to prevent such placement in 82% of the cases over an eighteen-month period.

Graham served as state legislative chairman of the California Association of Adoption Agencies (CAAA) for many years and was elected President of the organization for a four year term. The focus of his advocacy has been improving the path to a permanent family for foster children, ensuring that all adoptions equally balance the needs and rights of adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents, and securing an adoptee’s right to open records. In this capacity he served on Governor Wilson’s Adoption Advisory Council and on Governor Davis’s Child Welfare Stakeholders Group. The recommendations stemming from these bodies resulted in a substantial redesign of the child welfare system to the considerable benefit of children and families. In 2008 Graham was honored as an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Committee on Adoption, in Congress and at the White House.

Graham’s concern that children must be adequately matched with families led him to design and create California’s secure and public internet matching database system, which he continues to support and maintain. Over 13,000 children have been registered with this exchange over a 22 year period.

Consulting Areas

Graham is available individually, or with Adam Pertman and other consultants, to help plan and implement strategies to expand family recruitment, prepare families for placement, and develop funding for needed services especially post-adoption. He is an experienced advocate at the local, state and national levels.

As an expert witness in adoption-related and child welfare matters, Graham has been deposed and testified in a range of cases regarding the placement of children, agency procedures, standards of care and legislative intent. He has served as a temporary Administrative Law Judge in two California counties.

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