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Debra Cady, LCSW

Founder & CEO




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Debra Cady is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an Appreciative Inquiry facilitator of strength-based, positive change for individuals and organizations. She is a national expert in the area of youth and young adults transitioning into adulthood with 35 years of experience in behavioral health. She draws from direct service to senior level management roles within multiple child, youth, and young adult serving systems.


Debra is the Solopreneur and CEO of Silver Linings Advocacy™ Certification Program and trains individuals and organizations to implement an 8 Points of best practice to design and assess events, care planning, and change initiatives that involvement of youth/young adults. The program teaches participants how to minimize and mitigate risk, eliminate tokenism, and maximize benefits to Y/YA and to Organizations who involve them.  

Debra's direct service experience includes individual and group outpatient behavioral health therapy, residential, care management, and mobile mental health crisis services for adolescents and families.  As a manager, she provided trauma-informed supervision to a diverse workforce which included mentoring, coaching, and clinical supervision for licensure.  As a senior level manager, she created and implemented policy and practice changes with the involvement of key stakeholders. She has worked in private and community mental health, non-profits, higher education, State child welfare, State juvenile corrections, and the Federal government. 


As a previous Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Debra provided training and technical assistance to children's mental health System of Care grantees and facilitated strategic planning and facilitated learning communities. While with Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), she authored and led the Now is the TIME - Healthy Transition grant program.

Debra co-developed the Trauma-informed Method of Engagement (TIME) model for Youth Advocacy to minimize the risk of re-traumatization of youth and young adults who share their lived experiences for system change. She presents the model at countless national, state and local workshops and webinars, including speaking at the International Foster Care Organisation Conference in the UK. 

Most recently, Debra launched Lessons in TIME™ (Trauma-Informed Method of Engagement), an expansion of the TIME model. This 8 hour training is for staff who want to better engage and prepare youth and young adults to actively participate in advocacy events or care planning and for the administrators who supervise them.

Debra received her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and received her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. She is the CEO of her own woman-owned small business (WOSB), Silver Linings International, LLC.