Joseph J. Hess, Jr.
Joe Hess, Jr. is president and co-founder of First Children Services. Joe has spent over thirty years managing for-profit and not-for-profit provider organizations. Prior to starting Mountain Eagle Group in 2004, Joe was CFO, COO, and then President of a national behavioral health provider serving children and adults with a wide range of severe disabilities. In the 1980s, Joe was CFO at Holy Redeemer Health System and oversaw all of their home care and related ancillary services. Joe taught accounting in the MBA Program at LaSalle University and prior to that, taught at Temple University and Holy Family College.
Joe has been instrumental in developing a number of innovative changes in programs and operations over his years in the field, ranging from helping to create a one-of-a-kind neurobehavioral unit for children in severe behavioral crisis to using tax-favored financial instruments to fund the development of new facilities for provider organizations. As a consultant, Joe’s clients have ranged from large public organizations like the Virginia Department of Rehabilitation to smaller, community-based non-profits providing vital services to people with special needs.
In 2009, Joe acquired a school for children with complex medical, intellectual, and behavioral conditions in Fanwood, N.J. and named it First Children. In 2011 with his son, Matthew Hess, he founded First Children Learning Services to provide a wide range of services to children in their own homes and schools. In 2013 Joe acquired Regional Enrichment and Learning Centers and made that a part of the First Children Family of Services.
Over his career, Joe has been active in a number of provider and professional organizations, has published in professional journals, and has made numerous presentations to professional groups.
Matthew J. Hess
Chief Executive Officer
Matthew is the chief executive officer of First Children Services, responsible for operations, business development, financial management and human resources for the organization. Before transitioning to his current role in 2017, Matt had been the chief operating officer and vice president of operations since the company’s inception in 2009. Under his leadership, First Children has grown from a single educational program serving 65 children to become a diversified behavioral health and special education organization serving over 1000 children through 17 counties of New Jersey. Matt is a strong advocate of quality assurance and quality improvement throughout the company, ensuring a continued focus on driving positive outcomes for children, families and the payer community.
Before joining First Children, Matt had various entrepreneurial pursuits in the entertainment and manufacturing industries. He advises several technology, educational, and healthcare startups in the tri-state area. Matt studied Economics at Temple University and holds a Pennsylvania Real Estate license since 2009.
Christopher J. Perry
Chief Financial Officer
Christopher J. Perry is the CFO of First Children Services overseeing accounting, finance, payroll and other areas related to business administration within the organization. Chris comes to us with over 20 years of experience mostly in the healthcare field as a highly accomplished, goal-focused, and driven finance and operations management professional with a proven history of innovation and achievement. Prior to joining First Children, Chris served as chief financial officer at St. Christopher Pediatric Associates and Hahnemann Physician Group; regional director of operations and finance with Tenet Healthcare; and lead business process engineer and manager of finance ERP implementation at Cooper Health System.
Throughout Chris’s career, he has established a reputation as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to furthering standards of excellence. His expertise encompasses all aspects of financial management, operational oversight, project management, and software implementation. On the business development and administration side, he has demonstrated an ability to harness team strengths to improve performance operationally and financially by introducing improvements to develop new streams of revenue and cost controls.
Chris received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Centenary University and leadership certificate from The Wharton Business School.
Howard Savin, Phd
Chief Clinical Officer and Advisor
Dr. Howard Savin provides oversight of treatment models and clinical services along with organization-wide quality improvement systems for First Children Services. Dr. Savin has a profound understanding of the complex needs of children with behavioral health challenges. He has over 40 years of experience working in the behavioral health care field. Prior to joining First Children Services, Dr. Savin served as the senior vice president at Beacon Health Options where he led product development and quality oversight of corporate autism services. Before its acquisition by Beacon, Dr. Savin founded Autism Services Group, LLC, a managed behavioral health care organization specializing in the management of autism insurance benefits on behalf of large health plans and served as CEO as a division of Beacon Health Strategies for four years. Prior to ASG and Beacon, Dr. Savin served as senior vice president, clinical affairs and director of research and training for a national behavioral health provider for nearly ten years.
Dr. Savin is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, and he was formerly a Pennsylvania certified school psychologist and a Licensed Psychologist in Colorado. Dr. Savin holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia and a Master of Science in General-Theoretical Psychology from the University of Bridgeport. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Vermont. Over his career, Dr. Savin has been active in a number of provider and professional organizations, has authored a variety of professional publications, and currently serves as an editor for Autism Spectrum News. Dr. Savin has also given numerous presentations on clinical outcomes and the quality and accountability of behavioral healthcare services.
Valery Bailey, MPA
Vice President, Operations
Valery Bailey is vice president of operations for First Children Services. Valery formerly led finance and administration for Covenant House in Philadelphia and was responsible for building New Jersey operations for the Mentor Network, an organization serving children in foster care and children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She had a distinguished career as an executive within the New Jersey Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Families.
Valery received her master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Rowan University. Among her many awards, Valery was recognized by the National Association of Black Businesswomen in 2011 and the Stars Award for Excellence in 2014.