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Washington Office 1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005 202.371.1565 202.371.1472 fax

New York Office 50 Broadway, Suite 1504 New York, NY 10004 212.979. 2369 212.995. 8756 fax

About Us

t The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) Creating strategies, empowering communities, delivering results – That’s what CSSP has been doing for more than 30 years. The goal? To improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and families. CSSP is committed to using public policy, research and technical assistance to promote new ideas. Ideas that help strengthen families and lift children from poverty. Using real-world knowledge to inform decisions, while making sure work is based on what families and communities say they actually need, is what makes CSSP unique. Data, extensive community experience and a commitment to child and family well-being drive CSSP’s work on: system reform, public policy and community change.

CSSP is committed to being an anti-racist organization, addressing inequities based on race, ethnicity, language capacity and more. All of its work focuses on better futures for all children and families.

The Work

t System Reform •

Supporting families by mobilizing a national network to promote optimal development of young children and to prevent child abuse

Uniting systems and communities to help parents secure jobs and build assets, while ensuring their children are healthy, succeed in school and graduate to college and a career

Reforming child welfare and other public human services systems

Public Policy •

Promoting public policies that strengthen families and lift children and youth from poverty

Providing data, tools and research-informed policies for state and local decision-makers to use in tough economic times

Community Change •

Educating community residents to be effective consumers, securing better goods and services for themselves and their neighborhoods

Building community capacity to sustain better results for children, youth and families

Joining with international organizations to share innovations and knowledge across global boundaries

Established in 1979 as part of the University of Chicago, CSSP’s goal was to influence public policy affecting poor children and families, the elderly and the disabled. Founder Tom Joe, blind from early childhood, was a staunch advocate for federal and state policies that leveled the playing field for the disenfranchised and addressed the injustices that affect people’s lives. CSSP initially focused on federal policy, including welfare reform, tax credits for low-income families, long-term care for the elderly and health care. As the work evolved in the 1980’s and 1990’s, CSSP increased its direct technical assistance to state, county and city agencies and leaders. CSSP was a pioneer in advocating for services to keep children safe in their own homes; for a results focus in education and human service reform; for community-based decision-making in health and human services and for child advocacy based on data. Since 2000, CSSP has increased its focus on neighborhood-level change supported by state policy and finance. The past decade has produced first-hand experience and reflections about community change and comprehensive place-based solutions. CSSP has helped cities and neighborhoods implement “multi-generation” approaches to attacking poverty and changing children’s futures.


Creating strategies, empowering communities, delivering results


2003 2005 2009 2010

CSSP is recognized as a pioneer in promoting less adversarial approaches to resolving class action litigation in child welfare. Since 2003, CSSP has helped multiple states make systemic improvements. For example, in New Jersey, hundreds of new caseworkers have been hired and trained; more than 7,000 new foster parents have been recruited, licensed and retained, reducing the number of vulnerable youth placed in shelters and congregate facilities and the percent of children in foster care receiving comprehensive medical exams increased by 94 percent between 2008 and 2010. After two years of research, CSSP launched the Strengthening Families Initiative as a national network of states working to prevent child abuse and neglect. Strengthening Families is an approach designed to help families build research-based “protective factors” in places where families already go, such as early childhood programs and family resource centers. More than 30 states have adopted this approach across agencies to shape statewide service coordination, align professional development and create robust parent partnerships. The Alliance for Racial Equity, a partnership developed to achieve better outcomes for children, youth and families of color in the child welfare system, was created. As the managing partner of the Alliance, CSSP has helped raise awareness around race equity, reviewed and consolidated field research through a symposium and is developing tools to help child welfare leaders take action. Building on a decade of work to promote and support community decision-making as a structured way for community leaders to collaborate to improve results, CSSP launched the first Customer Satisfaction Network in Atlanta as part of ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts there. This work engages and educates residents as consumers, develops neighborhood groups to capture consumer feedback and creates partnerships between public and private agencies to use this feedback to improve services. CSSP launched, designed to help policymakers find the most up-to-date information to act on behalf of children, youth and families, particularly in tough economic times. The website was an evolution of CSSP’s early design of KIDS COUNT and of Policy Matters, CSSP’s work to provide state leaders with the best available evidence about effective policies around family economic success, school readiness, health care and more. Armed with knowledge gained supporting the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s place-based Making Connections initiative, CSSP has created an approach to building community capacity for results. CSSP continues to mine lessons learned to inform federal policy and to encourage communities across the country to use place-based strategies. Ongoing work includes partnerships that support local communities’ efforts to implement the Promise Neighborhoods approach. Visit to see more


MISSION To create new ideas and promote public policies that produce equal opportunities and better futures for all children and families, especially those most often left behind.


Washington Office 1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005 202.371.1565 202.371.1472 fax

New York Office 50 Broadway, Suite 1504 New York, NY 10004 212.979. 2369 212.995. 8756 fax

Center for the Social Policy  

Background, history and mission of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit.

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