Denise Hinds (she/her) is the Chief Program Officer for Youth and Family Well-being at Good Shepherd Services where she oversees the agency’s Foster Care programs, child welfare preventive services, and juvenile justice residential programs, a community-based program for court-involved youth, and two supportive housing programs for young adults. In 38 years at Good Shepherd Services, Denise has been instrumental in developing a variety of innovative youth development-driven programs, including Freedom 60, which allows youth participants an opportunity to pay homage to the Freedom Riders by taking a bus along the same historic routes the Freedom Riders took in Atlanta, Alabama, and Mississippi. Denise also oversees Health Homes, a care management model that provides individuals with access to a wide network of physical and behavioral health providers and community services.
Additionally, in 2002, she played a significant role in the development and implementation of the Chelsea Foyer, the agency’s first supportive housing program for young adults experiencing homelessness and one of the first programs of its type in the country.
For the past 10 years, Denise has also led the organization’s LGBTQ workgroup in creating a culture of awareness, acceptance, and celebration for its LGBTQIA+ children, youth, families, and over 1000 employees, tackling everything from marching in the pride parades, creating gender-neutral bathrooms to adding pronouns to signatures to just name a few. Denise notes one of her greatest achievements as being a mom to her daughter Maura. She continues to dedicate a great deal of her free time in support of LGBTQ issues, serving on the board of Family Equality, a national organization championing the rights and needs of LGBTQ people to have families, and as board chair of the Newark LGBTQ Community Center, which she describes as one of her most important works. In 2019 Denise received the Outstanding LGBTQ/Ally Award from the Administration for Children Services, and in 2022 she was named one of NYC LGBTQ Power Players by City & State. Denise recently received the 2022 Gay City News Impact Award
Denise holds a BA from Maryville College and a Master’s in social work from the Hunter College School of Social Work and has also served as a Clinical Field Instructor at Hunter School of Social Work.