Maria T. Lopez-Smith, LCSW

Executive Clinical Director


Maria Lopez-Smith is the Executive Clinical Director of Youth Development Institute (YDI) where she began working as a therapist in 2001. For the last 20 years, Maria has worked with children and adolescents who have histories of trauma, neglect, substance abuse, probation/parole involvement, child welfare involvement, and serious behavioral health challenges. Through her leadership, Maria has been instrumental in transforming YDI’s program and services as YDI embraced the Building Bridges Initiative, implemented trauma-informed care, and adopted Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Through this transformation, YDI has successfully and significantly reduced the use of restraint and eliminated the use of seclusion and is building sustained positive outcomes for youth and families. A 1998 graduate of Arizona State University as a Master of Social Work, Maria is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and an Arizona State University School of Social Work Community Advisory Board Member and Field Instructor.