In August 2005, the Better Care Network (BCN) Secretariat was established to support and implement the BCN’s daily activities. The Secretariat is based in New York and operates under the guidance and direction of the Steering Committee. 

The Secretariat is responsible for the core functions of the Network and for implementing BCN's Strategic Plan:

  • Facilitating information exchange across members and partners;

  • Managing relationships and convening key partners and stakeholders to promote dialogue and action;

  • Supporting policy and practice through the provision of technical assistance, resources and access to a global community of care professionals.

Florence Martin, Director

Florence Martin is Director of the Better Care Network.  She is a human rights lawyer and clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in child protection and children’s rights in both emergency and development contexts. Her work has focused on reforming and strengthening national child protection systems, including the framework for the delivery of social services and social work practice with children and their families. Prior to joining BCN, Florence worked as child protection adviser to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Indonesia where she supported major reforms of the child welfare and social work systems. Florence also worked as global adviser on child protection for Save the Children UK, adviser in child protection to the East Timorese Ministry of Social Welfare, and legal adviser to the Human Rights Unit of the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor. Florence also represented Amnesty International at the United Nations for five years. Florence holds an MSSW from Columbia University and a Master of Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Maria Herczog, Senior Technical Advisor

Maria Herczog is the Senior Technical Advisor for Better Care Network. She is an economist and sociologist with over 35 years of experience in teaching and researching in family matters, child protection, and child welfare. Maria has played an important role in the child protection reforms of Hungary and other transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe during the last nearly three decades, including as a temporary advisor to UNICEF, WHO, Council of Europe, national governments, and the European Union. She has been a civil society representative on the EU Economic and Social Committee and a member of the Hungarian Economic and Social Alliance. Maria was elected to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee in 2006 and 2010, and served as the rapporteur for two years. She is a founding member of Eurochild on behalf of the Family, Child, Youth Association in Hungary and has held many roles since 1993, including board member and President. Maria has authored several books and articles on child welfare and child protection based on her national and international research projects, primarily on children deprived of family care, the child protection system, child abuse and neglect, and alternative techniques for tackling violence, abuse and conflict. Maria holds an MA in Economics from Karl Marx University of Economics, a Ph.D. (Csc) in Sociology from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and habilitated at the University of Pecs, Hungary.

Mary Burner, Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist

Mary Burner is the Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist of the Better Care Network. She has a legal and public health background with a focus on women and children in development contexts. She also spent time working as a legal advocate for adolescents in the New York City foster care system. Mary received a JD from Columbia Law School and a MSPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Lucy Hillier, Consultant, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Initiative

Lucy Hillier is the Consultant for the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Initiative. Lucy has lived in South Africa for the past 15 years and has worked extensively in the Eastern and Southern Africa region on children’s rights and protection, including children affected by HIV. Over the years, Lucy’s work has ranged from managing community development projects in South Africa to supporting and coordinating regional programmes and networks on children. She has a particular interest in children on the move, child participation, and evidence-informed learning. More recently, she has concentrated on developing and supporting online networks and communications approaches which can link child protection practitioners more closely with evidence and support practitioners to share their own key learning. Prior to this, Lucy worked at the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development for the European Commission and as a journalist for both commercial and rights-focused publications. Lucy holds a BA(Hons) in Social Anthropology and Indonesian and a MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London.