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Persuasive rhetoric and moral appeals have always been used to advocate for social work programs. But while a convincing argument is still useful, it’s the toolbox of science that increasingly tells practitioners and policymakers what interventions and treatments should be adopted and taken to scale.

Gary Comer wanted to help the children of Greater Grand Crossing, the neighborhood where he grew up. With an investment of more than $75 million and help from SSA, the scope of his impact keeps growing.

When supervisors and Managers in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Office of Inspector General had been shown pictures of a toddler who had belt marks across her bottom, some felt that simply meant the child had been spanked. “Welt marks on a 2-year-old’s butt? There’s something off in that picture,” says Denise Kane, A.M. ’78, Ph.D. ’01. “That’s not corporal punishment— it’s brutality.”


Solving human problems is an enormously challenging business. Problems that social workers persistently face, like poverty, violence, homelessness or mental illness, are not easily resolved with a limited “toolbox” of interventions, let alone understood with a narrow lens that may only partially explain their source. 

In 2003, the City of Chicago launched its ambitious, ten-year Plan to End Homelessness in partnership with advocates and service providers from across the city. SSA’s Emily Klein Gidwitz [the late] Professor Michael Sosin is working with Christine George, an assistant research professor at the Loyola University Chicago Center for Urban Research and Learning, and Susan Grossman, a professor at the School of Social Work of Loyola University Chicago, on a multipronged effort to measure the plan’s progress.

Why it matters when a father who no longer lives at home spends time with his kids.

Did welfare reform remove motherhood from consideration as worthwhile work?

Children in a community with strong social networks may be less likely to be placed in foster care.

Rethinking the role of grandmothers when a mother is incarcerated

To impact the social influence on health, practitioners need a wide view.

From social enterprise to social media, a wave of innovations is transforming how nonprofits operate.

School News

Bobbie Gottschalk, 68, has more than 2,600 Facebook friends. A handful are family, the rest are from around the world, mostly in South/Central Asia and the Middle East. So when thousands of Egyptian youth and young adults united against longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak last January, Gottschalk, A.M. ’66, did what any avid social media user would do: She went to Facebook and Twitter to check in on her friends. Her message to those in Egypt? First, “Are you okay?” And second, “We believe in you.”

Threats to government investments in child care are shortsighted.