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REFORMING CHILD WELFARE Paperback – July 10, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0877667599 ISBN-10: 0877667594 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Urban Institute Press; 1 edition (July 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877667594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877667599
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Wow! This is the most important social welfare/public administration book in a generation. Olivia Golden brings the careful rigor of a scholar together with her brilliant experience as an administrator and policymaker at the federal, state, and, most recently, the local level. Her conclusion is straightforward: even the most complex issues of our society--like child welfare services--can be strengthened with a careful mix of leaders, patience, and a disciplined, evidence-based strategy. --Donna E. Shalala, President, University of Miami

Operating the child welfare system is one of government's toughest--and saddest--jobs. Unfortunately, the only time the public pays attention to it is after some horrific tragedy happens to a child the system has failed. That is why this clear-eyed look at the system and how to improve it is so welcome. Reading
Olivia Golden's inside view and her reporting on best practices creates a perfect opportunity for policymakers
to prevent tragedies, not just react to them. --Geoffrey Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harlem Children's Zone

Olivia Golden's firsthand experience turning around a public child welfare system is a sobering reminder
of the complexities of reform. Yet she offers hope because we know what needs to be done to improve
the lives of children and families. All of us working together can play a role in keeping children safe and
in permanent families. Dr. Golden defines the essential steps, partnerships, and strategies required to help our most vulnerable children. We should not delay a moment in responding to her call for action. --Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund

About the Author

Olivia Golden, an institute fellow at the Urban Institute, has led federal, state, and local child and family agencies and has written extensively on policies and programs affecting low-income families. From 2001 to 2004, she was director of the Child and Family Services Agency of the District of Columbia, leading the agency out of federal court receivership. From 1993 to 2001, she served in two presidentially appointed positions within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, first as commissioner for children, youth, and families and then as assistant secretary for children and families. In these roles, she was responsible for more than 60 programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, the implementation of welfare reform, and child abuse and neglect. In her most recent public-sector position, Dr. Golden served in 2007 as director of state operations for New York State, overseeing the management of all state government agencies and serving as the founding chair of the children's cabinet. Before her New York state position, she served as a senior fellow at the Urban Institute from 2004 to early 2007, leading the multimillion dollar Assessing the New Federalism project and overseeing its transition to a research focus on low-income working families. Golden was also director of programs and policy at the Children's Defense Fund (1991-93), a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (1987-91), and budget director of Massachusetts's Executive Office of Human Services (1983-85). Her book Poor Children and Welfare Reform (1992) draws lessons from welfare programs around the country that tried to make a difference to families by serving two generations, both parent and child. Golden holds a doctorate and a master's degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where she earned a B.A. in philosophy and government. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Social Services Director on June 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
As director of public social services agency, I found Oliva Golden's book to be thoughtful, on point and inspiring. It courageously explores the inevitable conflict and risk that come from strategic action. The author's discussion of successful child welfare initiatives and culture change provide hope and a road map for others to follow. The section on "Ten Rules for Agency Reformers and Child Welfare Leaders" is an excellent summary of lessons learned. I especially appreciated Golden's insights about building a team, working with community partners and acting effectively from self-awareness. I highly recommend this book to human services leaders in public agencies. It helped me gain insight, perspective, and specific ideas for improved practice.
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By Queen CC on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was highly disappointing!! It reads more like a memoire than anything else and considering the author's position in the child welfare system, I expected more.
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