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Harold Richman Public Policy Symposium

In 2011, CSSP launched a series of annual public policy symposiums in recognition of the contributions Harold Richman made to the organization and to the field.  Harold founded CSSP with his friend and colleague Tom Joe, and served as chair of its board from 2000 until his death in 2009.  He was also the founding director of The Chapin Hall Center for Children. Throughout his life, Harold provided public policy leadership for the sake of vulnerable children. 

The symposium series reflects principles that were important to Harold throughout his career.  Each symposium/forum is designed to:

  • Make a difference by contributing to policy development that will improve the lives of disadvantaged children and families
  • Discuss with candor and civility important issues on which there are sharp differences of opinion, with the aim of promoting greater consensus
  • Bring high academic standards to the discussion while emphasizing the realities of implementing ideas in communities and with partnerships of non-profit organizations and federal, state and local governments
  • Engage young leaders and scholars in important policy issues, ensuring fresh perspectives and providing opportunities for leadership development

A paper will be commissioned for each forum in the series. Once completed, each paper will be reviewed and commented upon by several of the leading thinkers within the subject area of the paper.  The actual forum will be used to:

  • Share the research and/or major schools of thought on a particular issue
  • Provide an opportunity for intellectual thought and debate regarding the presented issue
  •  Reach consensus when possible, identify those areas where there is continued disagreement, and explore the cause of the continued variance in opinion (e.g., lack of research, data, knowledge, etc.)
  • Make recommendations about policies, practices and additional research/debate that we believe will lead to good results for disadvantaged children and families

The topic for the first symposium was “Building a Rich and Useful Evidence Base to Improve Outcomes for Children, Families and Communities.

 The inaugural symposium was held in Washington, DC in July 2011 and included a vigorous examination of a paper co-authored by Lisbeth Schorr and Frank Farrow entitled, Expanding the Evidence Universe: Doing Better by Knowing More. The symposium featured a wide range of esteemed panelists from academia, philanthropy, the federal government and community change initiatives.

The 2011 event was made possible thanks to support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and Pastora Cafferty.

About Harold Richman

Harold Richman left a legacy of good works and lasting contributions to the field of children’s and family services. Harold's distinguished career reflected his belief that actions to improve the lives of children and families require a rigorous understanding of research and a commitment to policy innovation.  He began his life’s work as a White House Fellow from 1965 to 1967. He was also the Hermon Dunlap Smith Professor at the University of Chicago and from 1969 to 1978, Dean of its School of Social Service Administration.

Harold was an organization builder as well as teacher and mentor to hundreds of leaders in his field. He co-founded the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) with his friend and colleague, Tom Joe, in 1979. He founded the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago in 1985. Harold co-chaired the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives, chaired the board of the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and served on the boards of the Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem, the John Gardner Center for Youth and Community at Stanford University and the Michael Reese Health Trust in Chicago. He chaired CSSP’s board from 2000 until his death in 2009.

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