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A Conversation with Joseph Birli

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Joseph Birli
Joseph Birli - (Photo / )

Joseph Birli, 48, was named president and CEO of Children's Home of York in April.

He has more than 30 years of experience in human services and is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor with a private psychotherapy practice in Akron, Pa. He also is a graduate faculty member in educational counseling for several universities.

Birli earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern University, a master’s in counseling from West Chester University and his doctorate in education leadership from Wilmington University.

He and his family live in Leola, where they are the house family in a home for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Q: What are the three pillars on which you want to base the Children's Home of York and why are they important?

A: Those pillars are based on “The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni. The first is to have humility when working with our population and colleagues, as well as other professionals throughout the community. The second is to have a hunger or passion for what we do, and to really believe in and stand by what we do. And third, he calls it “people smarts,” and that relates to having a relational approach in developing partnerships throughout the community, and knowing our community and working together to provide quality services.

How does a 150-year-old organization continue to adapt to the changing needs of children and the community?

By continually reassessing what the needs of the community are. For example, we all know there’s an extensive opioid epidemic in our area. How might our organization serve children and their families and what services could we provide for that population? That’s something that would be assessed and we would consider what programming we could provide.

We have been approached by York Children and Youth Services to head up a new community integration program to work with children and their families while they’re still in their homes to reduce the need for children to go into a foster care system. That’s a type of program and partnership that is developed based on what the state is looking for, what the federal government may be looking for, and how we can best serve.

What community partnerships are key to the Children's Home's ability to serve local children and families?

There’s quite a few. There’s partnerships with the Rotary Club of York, the community foundation is another. Other providers who provide similar services that may be seen as competitors, how can we work together to fill the gap that may be missed. Those partnerships are essential.

Other areas we need to look at are primary health care, education – we’re partnering with the school district – psychiatric services. United Way is another one we’re eager to be part of. Other partnerships can also include construction organizations if we need assistance adding on to a building. The Girl Scouts of York have identified us as an organization they want to give back to. Those are very beneficial partnerships not just for us but also for them.

What do you think is the best activity for children in York?

I’m finding out there’s so much available. It opens up the community when an event like First Friday can be attended by children and their families, to really explore. To me that is so valuable. Every month you can try something new. Also, there’s so much cultural diversity throughout York, from the theater, to musical opportunities, art, there’s history here.

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