The Daniel Thursz Social Justice Lecture
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System
With David Tobis, PhD, Founder/Senior Partner of Maestral International
Wednesday, November 18
5 PM - UM SSW Auditorium
Free to Attend
1.5 CEUs Available for $20
525 West Redwood Street,
Featured Speaker: Dr. David Tobis
Dr. Tobis will discuss the events captured in his new book From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System. In his book, Dr. Tobis describes how the number of children in foster care decreased from almost 50,000 in 1992 to 11,000 today. He describes how such dramatic change was driven by a movement of mothers whose children had been placed into foster care, who fought to become advocates and stakeholders in a system that had previously viewed them as pariahs. They formed alliances with government and agency social workers and administrators, lawyers, foundation officers, and other advocates. His work serves as an example of how advocates and their allies can change a system and make it more socially just.
Tobis has worked to reform child welfare in New York, the United States, and internationally for more than three decades. He founded and was executive director of the Child Welfare Fund and the Fund for Social Change. Beginning in 1991, he worked as a consultant to UNICEF and the World Bank to prevent children, the disabled, and the elderly from being placed in long-term residential institutions in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He is a founder and senior partner of Maestral International (www.maestralintl.org), an organization that works to promote the well-being of vulnerable children and families. He recently worked throughout East and Southern Africa and Nigeria with UNICEF to assess and strengthen child welfare systems. He is currently working with the state government of Tabasco, Mexico to reform the social assistance system there.
Tobis began his social activism in Mississippi in 1965 rebuilding a burned church and then returning as a civil rights worker. He spent the next decade as an anti-war activist, traveling to North Vietnam in 1968 as part of the first student delegation to visit that country. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Guatemala in 1966-67 and co-edited the book published by NACLA, Guatemala: And So Victory is Born, Even in the Bitterest Hour. He was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University, an honor given to individuals who have worked to improve New York City.
His recent book, From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
He graduated from Williams College and received a PhD in sociology from Yale University.