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The Children's Bureau

Shaping a Century of Child Welfare Practices, Programs, and Policies

Katharine Briar-Lawson, Mary McCarthy, and Nancy Dickinson, Editors

ISBN: 978-0-87101-446-7. 2013. Item #4467. 360 pages.


Paperback $55.99   ePub $53.75

This edited book on the Children's Bureau and child welfare delineates legacies and highlights the ways that the Children's Bureau has influenced modern-day child welfare practices. As a centennial marker in honor of the Children's Bureau, this book also charts future agendas and innovations that may guide more effective practice, programming, and policies. Indeed, social workers launched the Children's Bureau in 1912. Originally in the Department of Labor, the Children's Bureau has a century-long legacy linked to the social work profession. Ultimately, this book will serve as a testimonial to the durability of the Children's Bureau, the changing nature of the challenges addressed, and the ongoing leadership role of social work.

The authors represent social work leaders in the field in child welfare policy, practice, and research. The book builds on NASW's legacy and support for reprofessionalization, research, and publications on child welfare and families in poverty. The chapters address the historical antecedents for a practice, program, or policy issue; the role of the Children's Bureau; and wherever possible, evidence-informed principles, if not blueprints, to guide future practice, programs, and policy. In addition, as appropriate, each chapter addresses the role of social work and implications for future educational and professional social work reforms. The National Association of Social Workers and sister organizations such as The Council on Social Work Education, The Child Welfare League of America, and The Alliance for Children and Families offer visionary briefs charting future commitments and agendas for the 21st century.

This centennial book brings together a national roster of child welfare experts from academia and practice to document the significant contributions of the Children's Bureau to U.S. policy development for children and families. Highlighting foster care developments, chapters illuminate for the reader the complexities of the system as it evolved from a tradition of 'rescue and punishment,' deeply seeped in racial inequities, to current efforts of advancing progressive policies that aim to correct systemic inequities, promote empirically based approaches that recognize the significance of culture in services planning, and affirm that the well-being of children is inextricably linked to the well-being of families and communities. The book makes an important contribution to the child welfare literature by documenting how far we have come as a nation in addressing the needs of dependent children and is an invaluable reference volume and a supplementary child welfare textbook.

Alma J. Carten, PhD, ACSW, LCSW

Associate Professor, New York University Silver School of Social Work