Covenant House Leadership
Kevin Ryan, President and CEO
Kevin Ryan, a father, activist and child advocate, is the president of Covenant House, the largest charity in the Americas helping exploited, homeless, runaway and trafficked children and youth. Covenant House helps more than 56,000 kids annually in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The charity's international human rights work has been awarded the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award, the Olaf Palme Peace Prize, the United States Department of State Hero Citation, the U.N.'s Vatican Mission Hands of Peace Award and, most recently, the Guatemala Hands of Peace Award.
During the 1990s, Kevin spent nearly a decade on the frontlines of Covenant House's mission with homeless and trafficked children on the streets of New York and New Jersey before he was appointed by the governor of New Jersey as the state's first child advocate. In that role, he and his team uncovered conditions of severe and illegal overcrowding in the state's juvenile centers – in some instances more than 10 young people crammed into locked rooms that were 13 x 10 – and championed widespread reforms that received national attention, including two appearances on "60 Minutes," front-page stories in The New York Times, The Newark Star Ledger, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and testimony before the United States Congress in support of stronger federal oversight.
In 2006, he was nominated by the governor of New Jersey to lead a reform of the state's foster care system as a member of the cabinet and the state's first commissioner of Children and Families. During his service, New Jersey set new records for adoptions, net gains in foster families, and safety for children in foster care.
He returned to the charity of his heart, Covenant House, as its fourth international president in 2009. In October 2012, John Wiley & Sons published Almost Home, a book by Kevin and former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley. Three years in the making, the book quickly became a national bestseller, landing as the most popular book across the United States at Barnes & Noble, and within the national top 10 lists for both Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly. The book chronicles the extraordinary true journey of six formerly homeless teenagers in the United States and Canada as they overcome abuse, violence, and heartbreak to achieve their dreams.
He is a graduate of Catholic University (BA), Georgetown Law Center (JD) and NYU Law School (LLM), as well as a former Skadden Fellow and Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. He and his wife Clare live in New Jersey with their 6 children.