hero image
Leslie Ellis-Lang - CARF International. Tucson, AZ, US

Leslie Ellis-Lang

Managing Director of Child and Youth Services | CARF International


Leslie Ellis-Lang, MSEd, LMFT, is a leader in services for children and youth with emphasis in both child welfare and behavioral health.





Leslie Ellis-Lang exhibiting at the California Alliance of Child and Family Services' Executive's Winter Conference, 2016 loading image Leslie Ellis-Lang at the California Alliance conference in 2015 loading image Leslie Ellis-Lang participating in a panel presentation on the Family First Prevention Services Act at the Texas-Child-Care-Administrators-Conference, 2018 loading image Leslie Ellis-Lang loading image





Leslie Ellis-Lang, MSEd, LMFT, managing director of child and youth services at CARF International has more than 30 years of professional experience in the behavioral health and child welfare fields specializing with children, youth, and families.

Prior to joining CARF in 2009, Leslie held leadership positions in not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. As a licensed marriage and family therapist trained in systems theory, she has focused on integrating clinical practice with administrative operations to improve both the outcomes for persons served and organizational performance. Her areas of expertise include quality management, program and policy development, training, clinical practice, and supervision.

Two unique highlights of Leslie’s career were participating in a pilot program as a treatment foster parent to deinstitutionalize youth from state institutions to specialized foster care homes and consulting with military families challenged in seeking treatment for their children while stationed out of country.

Additionally, in the realm of quality improvement prior to Leslie’s current position with CARF, she was a surveyor for both child and youth services and behavioral health programs for 12 years. Her experience with accreditation and application of standards expands beyond CARF as she has also led organizations through the accreditation process with other accrediting bodies and served as a consultant reviewer for the Children’s Bureau for the Federal Child and Family Services Review.

Leslie earned a Master’s degree in Counselor Education from Northern Illinois University after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Child Behavioral Health

Child Welfare

Cultural Competency

Family First Prevention Services Act

Gender diversity in children

Healthcare quality management

Qualified Residential Treatment Programs

Treatment foster care

Education (1)

Northern Illinois University: MSEd, Special Ed/Elementary Ed, Counseling

Media Appearances (3)

Family Focused Treatment Association joins CARF International’s IAC

CARF International  online


CARF’s Managing Director of Child and Youth Services, Leslie Ellis-Lang, offered the invitation earlier this fall. “FFTA really looks at how the family is involved in providing treatment to the children and youth in care,” says Ellis-Lang. “FFTA is not just about children’s voices. It recognizes they are part of families. If children are removed from their birth family, adopted family, or other current family placement, FFTA promotes placement into a family setting where they can learn the skills necessary to thrive within a family and their permanency plan can include family placement.”

view more

Three leading children and youth advocacy organizations join CARF’s International Advisory Council

CARF International  online


CARF’s managing director of child and youth services, Leslie Ellis-Lang, said of the additions, “Adding ACRC, NACBH, and Youth M.O.V.E. National to the IAC will assist us in ensuring that the voice and interests of children, youth, and their families have a strong presence in all CARF activities. In particular, it strengthens CARF’s continued effort to unify behavioral health and child welfare needs and practices within the standards, and supplies direct input from youth themselves.”

view more

NOSAC joins CARF's International Advisory Council

CARF International  online


"We are excited to increase our child and youth services representation on the IAC," said Leslie Ellis-Lang, managing director of Child and Youth Services for CARF. "We now have a better opportunity of ensuring that voices of children, youth, and families throughout the country are included in our standards."

view more

Event Appearances (1)

Panel Discussion - The Value of Accreditation: Moving Your Agency toward Excellence and Meeting the Accreditation Requirement in the New FFPSA

CWLA 2018 National Conference  Washington, DC


Articles (2)

How accreditation supports child welfare’s shift to prevention

CARF International 

This memory popped into my head as I spoke to Leslie Ellis-Lang, CARF’s managing director of Child and Youth Services, discussing the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). I realized the new legislation is a lot like having access to a new car door. Whether you believe it replaces something broken or provides an alternative, it will change how we fund child welfare and provide services to children and families.

view more

The newest quality frontier: child and youth services

CARF International 

The youngest (no pun intended) of CARF’s major accreditation areas is child and youth services. In 2005, the Child and Youth Services standards manual was first released in response to growing requests from advocacy organizations and programs that served children and adolescents, especially child welfare programs. Those first standards were originally developed using established standards from CARF’s various other accreditation areas serving persons under age 18. In many ways, CARF’s development and advancement of distinct child and youth standards parallel how society itself has viewed children and young persons over time.

view more