On January 22nd, Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) and Columbia University Institute for Child and Family Policy (ICFP) hosted a one-day symposium designed to launch a much-needed dialogue about the successes and failures of current child welfare policies in the United States. The afternoon session featured the videotaping of a Fred Friendly Seminar on the Child Welfare System: “Failure to Protect: A National Dialogue,” developed in collaboration with ICFP.

The symposium, organized by Columbia University School of Social Work, Columbia University Institute for Child and Family Policy, the Fred Friendly Seminars at Columbia School of Journalism, and FRONTLINE, was held in conjunction with a 3-part PBS television series on America’s child welfare system titled “Failure to Protect.” Parts 1 and 2 are FRONTLINE documentaries to be shown nationally on PBS:

  • “Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr,” airing January 30 at 9:00pm EST,
  • “Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files, airing February 6 at 9:00pm EST,
  • Failure to Protect: A National Dialogue,” a Fred Friendly Seminar/Frontline co-production in collaboration with ICFP, will follow the February 6th documentary broadcast.

The morning featured two panel discussions among nationally-recognized experts on the Child Protective System:

  • Panel 1: “CPS Reform: What Does it Take to Change Frontline Practice”
  • Panel 2: “ASFA Five Years After: What Have the Effects Been?”

Transcripts from the morning panels will appear on both the FRONTLINE and ICFP Web pages. CUSSW faculty and alumni participating in the morning panels were Sheila Kamerman, Brenda McGowan, Jane Waldfogel, Kathryn Conroy, Assistant Dean and Director of Field Education; Zeinab Chahine [’90]; and Gail Nayowith [’81],.

The symposium was made possible by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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