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Research that Effects Positive Change for Homeless Kids

The Covenant House Institute is a leader in social change, engaging communities in the many issues that affect homeless kids. We partner with academic institutions to conduct research and effectively advocate for the needs of all underserved youth, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

Covenant House Institute Staff

Executive Director: Bruce J. Henry

Bruce J. Henry has more than 40 years of experience in adolescent care. Over the past 25 years he has spearheaded the development of several of Covenant House's most innovative programs. He served as executive director of Covenant House New York (CHNY) for 20 years.

Bruce joined CHNY in 1984 as the director of Crisis Services. As director, Bruce was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Crisis Center and for the creation of innovative and unique services addressing the needs of the youth. His ability to foresee the immediate need for long-term services for youth in crisis led him to create Covenant House's most groundbreaking and complex program: Rights of Passage. This program, established in March 1986, was designed as a transitional living facility to assist formerly homeless youth in achieving self-sufficiency and independent living. To date, the Rights of Passage program has been established at 12 Covenant House sites throughout North America: Alaska, California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.

With the creation of Rights of Passage, Bruce became the executive director of CHNY in 1986. In addition to being the founder of Rights of Passage, Bruce created CHNY Community Resource Centers located in each borough. The Community Resource Centers bridge the gap between at-risk and homeless youth by providing vocational and educational training, allowing the youth to remain at home while obtaining services needed to become self-sufficient.

Another influential aspect of CHNY that Bruce introduced was a management training program known as the COII program. This program encourages entry-level staff throughout the agency to be placed in management roles, helping train them to become the next generation of leaders. While enrolled in the COII program, individuals attend graduate school; learn about all the functions of the agency, including the budgeting process; and receive direct training from senior management. The COII program has produced four executive directors throughout Covenant House and senior managers in many other social service agencies.

Bruce holds an MPA from Long Island University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Senior Regional Director: Lynne Echenberg

Lynne Echenberg joined the Institute in September 2011. She has spent her entire career working in child welfare, juvenile justice, and youth development services, most recently as the founding director of The Children's Aid Society's (CAS's) Next Generation Center (NGC), a multiservice center for high-risk youth ages 14-24 in the South Bronx. Prior to developing and launching NGC, she worked as an attorney in CAS's Office of Public Policy and Client Advocacy and as a law guardian/Skadden Fellow at the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Division in the Bronx. 

Lynne also served as special assistant to Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta at the N.Y.C. Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and as program coordinator for a citywide ACS mentoring pilot program that she designed for young people in foster care. Her areas of interest and experience include program and organizational development, performance management, public policy, and advocacy. She has a B.A. in social studies from Harvard College and a law degree from Stanford Law School.