Amanda M. Walsh, JD, LLM, MSW
Amanda M. Walsh is an attorney and social worker with expertise in social determinants of health, mental health, trauma, education, public benefits, child welfare, and immigration. She is the Director of the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, where she organizes state agencies, policy makers, and statewide experts, in collaboration-building, policy development, and monitoring around child and family well-being. She also oversees all operations for the Partnership. She is a 2021 Civic Leadership Academy Fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and serves as Treasurer of the Executive Board of the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health.
Prior to her current role, Amanda was a staff attorney at the Legal Council for Health Justice, where she started as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Walgreens Co. and Baker & McKenzie, LLP. There, she established Illinois’ first pediatric behavioral health medical-legal partnership at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Under the Rainbow (UTR) outpatient clinic, designed to collaboratively improve behavioral health outcomes and address the social determinants of health for children and families living in poverty. Her work focused on legal cases and policy issues addressing the needs of children and families across the spectrum of mental health and wellness and across state systems, including special education, school discipline, access to mental health and healthcare, public benefits, child welfare, and general family planning in immigration.
Amanda’s pursuit of social and health justice for children and families is driven by her personal experience growing up. Her family’s struggle with mental health and poverty led to Amanda entering the foster care system. While she was ultimately placed in a stable home with her maternal grandmother, she watched her parents navigate broken and siloed mental health, education, social service, and justice systems. Amanda made it her life’s goal to protect and rebuild families in similar situations and advocate for those with lived experience working to reform these same systems.
Amanda completed her undergraduate studies at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she designed a major in “Justice and Mental Health” with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She then received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she was a Civitas ChildLaw Fellow and completed certificates in Child and Family Law and Public Interest Law. She also obtained her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in Mental Health as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Health Law and Policy from Loyola.