Spence-Chapin Welcomes New Executive Director

369_Emily Forhman“I am pleased to announce on behalf of our entire board that Emily Forhman has been appointed the new Executive Director of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children. Emily’s experience as an organizational leader in the non-profit sector combined with her clinical expertise and demonstrated caring for the welfare of children make her the perfect choice,” said Maud Welles, president of the board of Spence-Chapin.

Forhman brings a wealth of knowledge to this position after 26 years in delivering services to children and families that included one-to-one mentoring, family systems-based counseling, and skill-based learning programs. She said, “I am honored to join Spence-Chapin and use my professional and personal experience to increase understanding about adoption. I am hoping to promote my belief that it is the responsibility of each of us to give children – born into circumstances that might limit their ability to flourish and thrive – a second chance. Spence-Chapin is a place for second chances.”

For the past 11 years, Forhman has been Executive Director of Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, a not-for-profit agency located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Under her leadership, CBSBB evolved to address the needs of the New York community irrespective of religion or ethnic background.  By translating the vision and agency mission into building relationships across various constituencies, she was a catalyst for the agency’s growth — tripling its operating budget and leading the agency in a successful merger in 2005 that strengthened and deepened its programmatic services. She also was key in developing a comprehensive agency model that focused on surrounding the child and family with services while implementing outcome and evaluation measures that proved the lasting impact.

Emily Forhman’s prior positions were Director of Programs for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York City and Systems Manager at Avon Products, Inc. She received her MSW from Fordham University School of Social Work and her BSW from Adelphi University.

Forhman resides in New York with her 10-year-old daughter Katie, adopted from Hungary.

Emily Forhman becomes the fifth Executive Director of Spence-Chapin Services since the 1943 merger of the Spence Alumnae Society and the Alice Chapin Adoption Nursery.

She is the immediate successor to Katharine Legg who was the Executive Director from March 1990 until May 2011.  Jane Edwards served from 1968 to 1990; Helen Montgomery from 1956 to 1968; and Dorothea Coe from 1943 to 1956. In the tradition of our former executive directors, Emily will focus on our mission of finding families for children, and continue to develop new programs in the best interests of all members of the adoption community.

To find out more contact us at

212-400-8150 or email us at info@spence-chapin.org.