Dawn George, Psy.D.
Senior Director for Behavioral Health
Dr. Dawn George is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelors’ degree in Human Services (2000), a Master’s degree in Counseling and Clinical Psychology (2005) from Chestnut Hill College, respectively, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University (2017). Dr. George is currently licensed eligible and is studying for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) licensure.
Throughout Dr. George’s career, she has worked with children in all facets. In 2000, she joined the Department of Human Services (DHS) as a trainee social worker. Within a short time, she became a Social Worker I and then Social Worker II. She has investigated thousands of allegations of abuse and neglect of children, adolescents, and teenagers. She is an avid advocate for the children and families in the Philadelphia area. In 2008, she was appointed to the elite Specialty Sex Abuse Unit while at DHS, a section of the Collaborative Sexual Abuse Unit. This small elite group of social workers was responsible for investigating the vast majority of heinous sexual crimes against minors. The Collaborative Unit, which is the cities’ first co-location, comprises DHS Specialty Unit Social Workers, Philadelphia Police Department, Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives, and Philadelphia Caring Alliance (PCA) forensic investigators. This division has expanded to include CHOP and St. Christopher’s doctors and nurses to provide immediate medical treatment of victims. Dr. George was part of the team that discussed how to bring all parties, such as prosecutors and victim advocates, in one location to minimize the re-traumatization of victims’ abuse. Before this, a child victim may have told their story several times.
During her long tenure at DHS, Dr. George made it her mission to reunify children sooner with their families, so they did not linger unnecessarily in foster care. Dr. George’s position required her to investigate allegations, testify in court, hold family meetings, determine allegations, provide safety checks, and remove children from unsafe homes. However, she advocated for families to fight for their children while learning alternative methods of discipline.
She previously worked for Northern in several capacities, the first of which was working as a pre-doctoral internal through the Immaculata Consortium. As a Clinical Manager for its’ Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) program in Chester, PA, Dr. George supervised the BHRS program and provided outpatient therapy. Dr. George has also served at Northern as a clinical consultant, completing Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Evaluations (CBE’s) and Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Re-evaluations (CBR’s) for its School Therapeutic Services (STS), BHRS, Wellness, and Outpatient programs.
Immediately prior to rejoining Northern to assume her current position, Dr. George served as Clinical Team Leader for Northeast Treatment Centers (NET), School Therapeutic Services (STS). There she supervised multiple teams of Master’s and Bachelor’s level clinicians in various schools who provide therapeutic services to children with behavioral challenges. While at NET, she has coined the phrase, “We are not a reward; we are not a consequence; we are a therapeutic service.
Other notable career opportunities include providing treatment at Woods Services, where she administered testing for children diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and Intellectual Disabilities. She also provided individual, family, and group therapy at Red Shields Family Shelter for residents. Her tenure at Coleman Hall was as a co-therapist for men convicted of crimes who were midway between leaving the criminal justice system and going home. Her earliest internship experience was at Jefferson Hospital’s NARP program and Women Against Abuse.
For her dissertation, Dr. George did qualitative research on “Cultural Differences in Reporting Child Abuse by Mandated Reporting in Pennsylvania.” She also presented at the Pennsylvania Psychological Association Annual Convention “Application of Family Therapy, Concepts, and Practices to Culturally Diverse Families.” Additionally, she was among other notable critical speakers on a community panel for understanding, “Sexual Abuse in the community.”
Dr. George loves the arts, particularly dance. In her spare time, she volunteers at her family’s dance school and is family-oriented. Dr. George’s goal is to produce a therapeutic environment that cultivates real behavioral changes for children, especially minority children. She has been working with children for more than 20 years and continues to be an advocate. She believes she should help eliminate barriers so that every child can reach self-actualization.