Track: Health and Well-Being
Commitments: Partnering with Purpose; Leading with Vision; Innovating with Enterprise
North Star: Capacity to Innovate; Strategic Partnerships

Level of Learning: Learner

Healthy child development is the foundation of short- and long-term well-being for children, families, and communities. Challenges, such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and housing instability, cause toxic levels of stress that inhibit adult functioning and negatively impact child development with lifelong implications. These challenges are often complex and occur concurrently for families that also face increased likelihood of poor child health outcomes, child welfare involvement, and poor social and health outcomes later in life. Comprehensive solutions to these challenges require concurrent efforts in systems and practice innovation.

The Housing Opportunities Made to Enhance Stability (HOMES) initiative is a multilayer approach to enhance housing stability, improve well-being of children and families, and prevent child maltreatment for families in Milwaukee’s most challenged and underserved neighborhoods. Grounded in brain science and informed by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ Change in Mind initiative, HOMES uses a system change strategy that includes leveraging research, data analytics, strategic relationship building, procedural changes, and design thinking to prototype and pilot practice enhancements for this complex challenge.

This presentation will highlight Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s design thinking process used to collaboratively prototype and pilot practice changes to address housing stability in a child welfare system, as well as efforts to adapt and implement Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in a shelter for survivors of interpersonal violence. The discussion will include:

  • How stress from housing instability, combined with ACEs, can negatively impact child well-being and adult functioning
  • What’s worked and what hasn’t in our multi-system approach
  • How simple data analytics, combining ACEs and housing, has fueled discussions across systems
  • What’s been successful and what hasn’t in building relationships in a complex housing system when starting from a healthcare perspective

Participants will engage in the innovative process and will explore the lessons learned along the way through exercises in the use of design thinking tools for hands-on learning. Presenters will also share how to use basic data collection around ACEs and housing.  

Learning Objectives

  • How to use brain science and data to inform systems and practice change
  • The impacts of building new partnerships to affect systems change
  • The use of design thinking approaches to identify opportunities for practice and systems change and implement innovation processes and prototypes


  • Gabriel McGaughey, child well-being director and director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-being, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
  • Luke Waldo, child well-being manager and associate director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-being, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Gabriel McGaughey
Child Well-being Director and Director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-being
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Gabriel McGaughey serves as the director of well-being for Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee Community Services and is a founding co-director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. He joined Children’s Hospital in 2003.  

McGaughey has worked to advance the child welfare field toward a more holistic approach to working with children, with a focus of meeting their developmental needs to support long-term success. Previously, McGaughey led the child welfare case management program at Children’s Hospital, leveraging experience in direct practice, quality improvement, and data analytics to support improved services for families. McGaughey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Luke Waldo
Child Well-being Manager and Associate Director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-being
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Luke Waldo currently serves as the well-being manager at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and associate director of program implementation and community outreach for the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being.

Waldo has dedicated his career to child well-being in Europe, South America, and his native city: Milwaukee, where he has worked with children adversely impacted by immigration, homelessness, family violence, and abuse and neglect. He has nearly two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector working in the domestic violence, childhood trauma and well-being, homelessness, and education and prevention fields with a particular focus on engagement and innovative solutions to personal and community challenges. He has trained hundreds of child well-being professionals in the areas of domestic violence, toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, and childhood resilience. Prior to joining the institute’s leadership team, Waldo led the Family Support Program, which serves families involved with the child welfare system by providing strengths- and evidence-based interventions.

Waldo received a bachelor’s in psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He received his master’s in cultural foundations of education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.