Athena is currently Child Welfare Facility Auditor with the Office of Refugee Resettlement at ICF, as a lead bilingual auditor auditing detention facilities that house unaccompanied minors in the US, to ensure compliance of specific ORR regulations (Title 45), in an effort to prevent sexual abuse in child welfare facilities.
Athena has expertise in child welfare, adoption & dissolutions, congregate care, permanency, diversity, race and inclusion as it relates to the Latino and Hispanic immigrant communities. She is also involved in ILP minor education, training and technical assistance to states and jurisdictions, engagement and management of subject matter expertise for federal clients, amd lived expertise consultant management.
Athena has 15+ years of knowledge and more than 10 years of technical experience supporting youth development programs for at-risk youth through project and program management for transition-aged youth, project coordination of subject matter experts with lived experience, training minor, consultants and field experts, professional development of young promising advocates, coaching, curriculum development, policy and advocacy. Ms. Garcia-Gunn holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science, with a Behavioral Science emphasis. She has served children and families directly in California through higher education readiness programs, transitional housing and emancipation readiness programs and foster parent licensing programs both in English and Spanish capacities. Athena began her work through advocacy at the state and federal level, including serving as a federal consultant and subject matter expert to support systems change and implementation nationally. Athena is also a strong writer and public speaker and prior to her current role at the Center, she leveraged her platform to provide insight, training, coaching and advocacy to the child welfare field at the local, state and federal level.
Athena formerly served as the Young Adult Consultant Coordinator, managing, supervising, coordinating and project-matching 22 Consultants to federal service-delivery projects and products. Athena leveraged her lived and professional experience to provide strategic solutions and coaching support on authentic engagement to the field and consultants alike. Athena applied collaboratively techniques to provide coaching and guidance on lived experience implementation in alignment with the Center for States’ capacity building approach.