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Sasha Rasco

Chief Prevention and Community Well-Being Officer, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Sasha's career began in early childhood education as an infant caregiver in a NAEYC accredited child care center. After completing graduate school at the University of Texas’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and a subsequent Governor's Policy Fellowship with the Governor of Maryland's Office of Children, Youth and Families, Sasha worked for 14 years in the Child Care Licensing division of TDFPS, the last two years as Associate Commissioner of Child Care Licensing, regulating over 36,000 child-care centers, homes, adoption and foster care agencies, and child-care residential homes and agencies. In 2009 the Texas Licensed Child Care Association recognized Sasha as an Early Care and Education Champion and Texas Government Insider profiled her as a key government executive in its Texas Lone Star profiles, and in 2010 the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services honored Sasha as DFPS Employee of the Year. Sasha also worked for two years developing programs and projects at Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services' Early Childhood Intervention program (IDEA Part C).

Since 2013 Sasha has lead the growth of the Prevention and Early Intervention division (PEI) at DFPS. PEI oversees more than 140 community based grants to organizations providing an array of evidence-informed family support services, including positive youth development programs, individualized and group parenting education, specialized supports for fathers and military families, and evidence-based home visiting to more than 64,000 families and youth in Texas. Using a public health framework and to support the effectiveness of these grant efforts, PEI also conducts extensive data collection and analysis, often through third-party evaluations, and provides training and technical assistance in model fidelity, community outreach and collective impact, results-based accountability, and other elements of quality implementation science. PEI also conducts several public awareness campaigns, leads state-level systems integration efforts and includes an Office of Child Safety that reviews all child maltreatment fatalities and near-fatalities in the state and produces analysis and recommendations for further prevention efforts. 99% of families served by PEI do not abuse and neglect their children in the year following services and 97% of youth served are not adjudicated in the juvenile justice system. PEI’s annual budget for FY 2018 is $105 million.

Sasha holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin's Humanities Honors Program and a Masters of Public Affairs from UT's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.