Productive Harvard Trip for Safe Passage

Safe Passage ED Rich Gehrman visited with Kennedy School of Government professors Christine Letts and Julie Boatright Wilson, and with Harvard Business School professor Regi Herzlinger.  These experts were excited about the Safe Passage mission, gave postivie feedback on our grass-roots strategy and helped connect us with a number of national leaders in child welfare.  A brief summary:

  • Dara Minashi at the Annie E. Casey Foundation confirmed our research that Utah has the best quality assurance program nationally, and offered to stay in touch regarding developments in this area.  She also confirmed that concerns raised by Safe Passage regarding the emphasis on reducing the number of children in foster care at the expense of child safety and well-being are beginning to be expressed by others nationally
  • Five top staffers at the national Children’s Defense Fund participated in a conference call with with Safe Passage and the Minnesota CDF to give feedback on our strategy.  They were enthusiastic about our work, shared contacts and provided direction on the research being undertaken by our colleague Canan Karatekin at the Institute of Child Development (U of M) and offered to provide continued guidance as we implement our campaign
  • Dr. William Beardslee, Chief of Child Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School was already familiar with Safe Passage, likes our work, and will continue to help with us refine research projects related to his areas of expertise including systemic reform of child welfare systems and the relationship between child abuse and childhood depression
  • Katherine Noonan, formerly of the Kennedy School and currently at University of Wisconsin, is a national expert on state child welfare quality improvement systems.  She provided detailed guidance on factors that drive successful reform of these state systems.
  • Bruce Kamradt at Wraparound Milwaukee offered to work with Safe Passage to develop financing options for an early-intervention focused child welfare system
  • Regi Herzlinger offered to help Safe Passage recruit Harvard Business School students to conduct a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis on child welfare early intervention programs and practices.  If students sign up Prof. Herzlinger offered to supervise the the project, which would take place during the spring 2012 semester

Unfortunately everyone confirmed that there is virtually no funding available from national organization for advocacy work.  The major child welfare funders, Annie E. Casey and Casey Family Programs, focus their funding on supporting state and county administrators.

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