Dr. Sharon McDaniel
Founder, President &
|Pittsburgh Corporate Office
In 1994, Sharon McDaniel launched A Second Chance, Inc. in her native Pittsburgh, PA., ushering in a then little-known model for providing safe, secure, and nurturing environments for children who are being cared for by their relatives or close family friends. That innovative approach is known as “kinship care.”
Today, Dr. McDaniel, herself an alumna from foster care and a recipient of kinship care, serves more than 1,000 children and 800 families a day through A Second Chance, a thriving non-profit, which also has a regional office in Philadelphia. In starting A Second Chance, Dr. McDaniel brought with her more than 25 years of professional experience as an award-winning child welfare leader in Pennsylvania, and as an insightful, compassionate, and tenacious kinship care advocate who saw rescuing children and keeping families intact as her life’s mission and work. She has served as a supervisor and court liaison for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Children Youth and Family Services, as well as program director for theThree Rivers Adoption Council’s Black Adoption Services Program.
In 2014, Dr. McDaniel authored the book, “On My Way Home – A Memoir of Kinship, Grace, and Hope”. The autobiographical account retells her personal journey through child welfare, her experiences in starting a nonprofit agency and her reflections on the philosophies and policies that must change to better address the needs of kinship families in child welfare.
Appointed to the Casey Family Programs Board of Trustees in 2005, Dr. McDaniel now serves as Treasurer, making her the first African-American to hold the prestigious post. Casey Family Programs is the nation's largest foundation dedicated solely to providing and improving, and ultimately preventing, the need for-foster care. She is also a Trustee of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Initiative, which since 2001, has been one of the leading national voices in child welfare, particularly focused on supporting young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Recently, Dr. McDaniel was appointed to the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which in 2012 launched a national listening tour to learn and create better policy regarding the nation’s foster care system. A trusted industry leader and change agent, Dr. McDaniel was also an inaugural member of the Casey National Center for Resource Family Support Advisory Board and a Children’s Defense Fund Advisor. A strong proponent of permanency, she is a current National Advisory Board Member for the Quality Improvement Center (QIC) on Post Permanency Services through HHS and Spaulding for Children.
Locally, Dr. McDaniel continues to channel her personal experience, credibility to constituent work, and dedication to the field of child welfare as a longtime member on the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Committee and on the Allegheny County Children’s Cabinet. She previously served as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Task Force of Kinship Care and was also co-facilitator for the Allegheny County Foster Care and Kinship Initiative. Nationally, she continues to serve as a long-term board member of the Black Administrators in Child Welfare and Kinship Care. Dr. McDaniel also served a panel member for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Advisory Kinship Panel that was assembled under the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Presently, she sits on the National Center on Grandfamilies Council.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. McDaniel has authored several articles and papers on child welfare and has received numerous local and national honors and awards.
In September 2006, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute honored Dr. McDaniel with it its Angels in Adoption award, which provides an opportunity to all members of the U.S. Congress to acknowledge the good work of their constituents and partners who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans. And the Girl Scouts of Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2001, recognized Dr. McDaniel with their Women of Distinction Award.
Serving as co-investigator and author of “Subsidized Legal Guardianship: A Permanency Planning Option Study for Children Placed in Kinship Care” and “Subsidized Legal Guardianship Update” along with Anthony Sosso, Jr., Esq., Dr. McDaniel’s research supported the development of a subsidized legal guardianship proposal for the State of Pennsylvania, which, at that time, had no such legal status in its legislation. This work, which commenced around the State of Pennsylvania, was also used by national organizations to form their positions and proposals on Subsidized Legal Guardianship.
Sharing her expertise and work in child welfare and kinship care, Dr. McDaniel has been a sought-after guest lecturer and presenter nationally and abroad at institutions including the University of Barcelona; Oxford University, England; and Howard University. Dr. McDaniel earned her Bachelor of Administration of Justice degree from The Pennsylvania State University; a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh; a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Heinz School for Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University; and a Doctorate of Education from NOVA Southeastern University. As a graduate of the Cosmetology Program at Empire Beauty School and a licensed hairstylist, Dr. McDaniel still makes time to use her skills and serve her community by providing free hair care and styling to those in need.