Debbie B. Riley, LCMFT, C.A.S.E.’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and her Bachelor’s Degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland. Over the past 30 years, Debbie has focused her extensive therapy experience around treating adolescents and families dealing with issues of depression, anxiety, attention, and complex learning challenges.
Since co-founding C.A.S.E. in 1998, Debbie has specialized in treating the complexities of adoption that surface in adolescence as well as children adopted internationally who are experiencing post-trauma stress and adjustment challenges. Among her many professional accomplishments, Debbie co-authored the widely acclaimed book, Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens. She collaborates with community organizations that support at-risk teens and integrate allied support services for teens with complex needs.
Debbie also founded the TAC (Training for Adoption Competency Curriculum) currently taught in 15 states across the country. Through a recent federal five-year grant awarded to C.A.S.E from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Debbie serves as the Principal Investigator to establish a National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI), created to build the adoption competency capacity of child welfare professionals and mental health practitioners that serve youth moving toward permanency as well as youth living in permanent adoptive or guardianship homes.
Debbie is a highly respected and sought-after keynote and workshop presenter both nationally and internationally. She is the proud recipient of the Children’s Bureau 2015 Adoption Excellence Award. Nominated by Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Debbie’s unwavering commitment to providing resources, support and advocacy for children, teens and family members touched by adoption and foster care is in itself extraordinary. She and co-founder Kathleen Dugan created C.A.S.E. 18 years ago and has grown the organization into a national and international mental health resource for foster and adoptive families as well as for the professionals who support them.
Debbie Riley and her husband Mike are also proud adoptive parents.