Symposium: “Changing the Frame – Rethinking Child Welfare in a Community Development Context”

Each year, Center for Family Life organizes a symposium, dedicated to one of our founders, Sister Mary Geraldine, that brings together experts and practitioners for a discussion of a topic relevant to the work of the Center. This year’s symposium, which took place on February 7, focused on child welfare in a community development context.

Jennifer March-Joly, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children, gave the keynote address, and Belinda Conway, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, provided commentary. Three workshops followed the opening presentations, discussing promising practices in:

  • Child welfare and community development, led by Paul Di Lorenzo, Senior Director of Casey Family Programs.
  • Child welfare and public education, led by Julie Stein Brockway, Co-Director of Center for Family Life, and Carrie Stewart, Family Counseling Supervisor at Center for Family Life.
  • Child welfare and workforce development, moderated by Gary Carter, Executive Director of Little Sisters of the Assumption, with Vanessa Bransburg, Cooperative Coordinator at Center for Family Life, and Priti P. Kataria, ACT Director at Lawyers for Children.

Thank you to everyone who came to the Symposium, and especially those who provided the informative and inspiring presentations.  Ms. March-Joly’s presentation was the highlight of the event: she offered a cogent and thoughtful analysis of the relationship between childhood wellness, broadly defined, in communities and community-level participation in child welfare services. You can view an outline, including lots of interesting and eye-opening data, by clicking here (pdf).

For an interesting discussion of economic, social and racial factors in child welfare, we recommend this excellent article about a recent conference of leading child welfare professionals at Harvard University.


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