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A Brooklyn Family Tale - Educational Materials
Home Characters Center for Family Life Statistics Reaching Out

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A parade in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Educational Materials: Meet the Authors

Peg McCartt Hess

"I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to study the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park and to share the lessons learned with others who are committed to serving families and children," stated Peg McCartt Hess, co-author of NURTURING THE ONE, SUPPORTING THE MANY: THE CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE IN SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN. "We hope that the voices of those who use the center's services and of the center staff members, who bring the center's service model to life, will inspire and instruct others. As others have emphasized, the center's programs so clearly illustrate what can be done with and for at-risk children and their families."

Dr. Hess served as co-principal investigator of the study of the Center for Family Life, funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and carried primary responsibility for the sub-study of the center's preventive program. Dr. Hess commented, "In our writing about the center, we have emphasized the unique nature of the center's preventive program. Designed to prevent child maltreatment and unnecessary out-of-home placement of children, this program combines the best elements of both family preservation and family support services. It provides a comprehensive yet individualized short-or long-term response to families in need."

A professional social worker for over thirty years, Dr. Hess has a masters in social work from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Her practice experience has included clinical, supervisory, and program development services in a range of settings, including family service agencies, schools, and early childhood programs, and policy development and advocacy in the field of child welfare. Dr. Hess' research has focused on services that support the reunification of children in care with their families, including family visiting of children in care, and other aspects of child welfare services. Dr. Hess is the author of numerous publications regarding family support services, social work practice, and services that support family reunification.

Currently on leave from the faculty of the Columbia University School of Social Work where she served for seven years as Associate Dean, Dr. Hess is Associate Director for Research and Scholarship at the Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina. She has held faculty positions at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Alabama.

Brenda G. McGowan

Dr. Brenda G. McGowan, co-author of NURTURING THE ONE, SUPPORTING THE MANY: THE CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE IN SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN, is the Ruth Harris Ottman Professor of Family and Child Welfare at Columbia University School of Social Work. Commenting on her reactions to participating in this research, Dr. McGowan noted: "I was very excited in 1993 to be asked to conduct a study of the Center because I had watched with interest the development of this exciting program since its establishment in 1978. Long intrigued by the Center's approach to service, I felt that it would only be through such long-term, comprehensive research that we could gain a full picture of what can be accomplished in a program that is truly family-centered and community-based." She served as co-principal investigator of the study, carrying primary responsibility for the sub-studies on the community school programs and the storefront center/advocacy clinic.

A professional social worker for 35 years, Dr. McGowan received her masters in social work from Boston College and her doctorate in social work from Columbia University. A member of the social work faculty at Columbia for more than two decades, her primary teaching responsibilities are in the areas of clinical and advocacy practice, program development, and family and children's services. She previously engaged in child welfare practice in Boston and later served as an associate in the Juvenile Justice Division of the Children's Defense Fund. She was also a visiting professor at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Rio de Janeiro in 1984 and 1985 and the recipient of a Fulbright travel award to Brazil in 1985.

Dr. McGowan is the author or co-author of four books as well as a number of articles and monographs related to the delivery of family and children's services. These include several publications focused specifically on child welfare services in New York City. She has also been active in a number of child welfare advisory committees and has served as expert witness in several class action cases related to children's services in the City.

Michael Botsko

Michael Botsko, co-author of NURTURING THE ONE, SUPPORTING THE MANY: THE CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE IN SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN has worked as a social work researcher, methodologist, statistician, and program evaluator for the past 22 years. In the study on the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, he was primarily responsible for quantitative data collection and analysis in all components of the research. Mr. Botsko is currently a senior program evaluation associate in the technical assistance/program evaluation department of Bailey House, a housing and social service agency for people with HIV/AIDS in New York City. He has a M.S. in social work and a M. Phil in social welfare research from Columbia University. He was an National Institute of Mental Health Training Research Fellow in 1991 and received post-graduate training in advanced statistical modeling at the Currant Institute for Mathematics at New York University in 1992-1993.

Mr. Botsko has directed studies in the areas of foster care and adoption, preventive services, early childhood education, mental retardation/developmental disabilities, immigration, housing and health, international social work, and homelessness. He has also published articles in a number of peer reviewed journals including SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH AND EVALUATION, INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WORK, CHILD WELFARE, EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, and THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

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