James Lister

Executive Director

James Lister headshot

Since joining the organization as Executive Director in 2005, James has overseen the addition of a number of new Plummer programs, including a supported apartment and a community apartment program for youth in state care who are in danger of having no where to go once they turn 18. During his tenure, Plummer also opened a foster care program and a juvenile detention diversion program, adopted its first strategic plan, and more than tripled its funding.

In 2010, James led the organization in the design and piloting of a practice model to help teens in group care connect or reconnect with permanent families. This innovative work led to an invitation for James to present Plummer’s model at a number of national conferences. He authored a best practice paper entitled Redefining Residential: Strategic Interventions to Advance Youth Permanency for the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers. The paper describes quality residential interventions to support the goal that all children in out-of-home care achieve safety, permanence, and wellbeing.

In 2016, Plummer added a Permanency Practice Leadership division to provide consultation and training to organizations wishing to learn best practice for helping young people connect with families. This division of Plummer Youth Promise operates nationally.

James started his career in human services as a social worker for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He went on to work with Family Continuity, serving as Assistant Program Director of an independent living program for foster children and later as a Program Director at an acute mental health residential program for children and adolescents.

James earned his BA in Criminal Justice from the University of MA at Lowell and later his MBA from the same institution. He currently serves on the executive committee of both the Children’s League of Massachusetts and the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers. James is also a member of the Salem Rotary Club.