Patrice Penney, MSW, LCSW is the founder and Executive Director of ICARA. After twenty years of working with at risk children and their families in the Chicago area, Patrice and her family moved to East Africa where she worked for a decade (2003-2013). The impetus for the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa has grown out of that work--teaching child development and child at risk studies at Africa International University in Nairobi; and counseling, training and consulting on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Working in this context has deepened Patrice's understanding of the enormous impact of traumatic loss (orphaning) and other traumatic experiences (extreme poverty, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, and family and community violence) on vulnerable children. Childhood trauma threatens the psychosocial health of a generation of children in Africa. Her focus in response is to provide training for caregivers so that they can nurture the hearts of orphaned and vulnerable children, and enable them to grow and flourish.

Trained in child development, attachment, child trauma, child and family therapy, Patrice is developing curricula and other resources for the African context. She is also training in Africa several times a year. If you are interested in inviting her to provide training for your organization, contact ICARA.

In its inception, she is the only staff member. As it grows, ICARA will add staff in Africa who will train caregivers who can join her training efforts on the ground. ICARA would also welcome the application of graduate students interested in a practicum or internship experience. either clinical or research-based, from Africa or the US. Students should be currently enrolled in a program in child and family studies, social work, psychology, and public health or a related program.  If interested, contact ICARA.

For more information, contact us.