Burns, Virginia

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The Center for the Study of Welfare Policy (CSWP) was an interdisciplinary research institute established at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago. The CSWP evaluated contemporary social welfare policy and explored new approaches to social problems related to health care, education, poverty, the elderly, children and families. It was founded in June 1969 by soon-to-be dean of the SSA Harold Richman, in collaboration with Margaret Rosenheim, also a future dean of SSA. Rosenheim served as the director of the CSWP from 1969-1972. The Center launched a broad range of research initiatives, hosted American and international experts on social welfare policy, organized conferences and lectures, and published working papers, monographs, and curricular materials related to the politics and administration of welfare services. The CSWP opened an office in Washington, D.C. in 1979 under the direction of Thomas Joe, a seasoned veteran in the field of social welfare policy, in order to provide critical analysis of policy issues to government officials, legislators and interest groups in the capital.

The CSWP received funding from various private and public sources, in particular the Department of Health Education and Welfare (DHEW). In July 1969, the CSWP was designated one of three regional research institutes in social welfare by DHEW, carrying with it a commitment to provide financial support for the next three to five years. In July 1970, the CSWP received a grant from the Social and Rehabilitation Service (SRS) Agency of DHEW to design a system that would integrate social services at the delivery level, the aptly named Social Service Delivery Project (SSDP). The SSDP study group was composed mostly of University of Chicago faculty and graduate students, under the direction of Virginia Burns. It was charged with investigating social services and recommending changes in the existing system, resulting in several monographs and working papers. The CSWP held several conferences and seminars on cutting edge topics in social welfare research such as juvenile delinquency. The Center also hosted prominent international scholars and pioneers in social welfare from Israel, Africa and Europe, including Barbara Castle, the Baroness Castle of Blackburn and a prominent Labour politician in Britain, who was Secretary of State for Social Services in the mid-1970s.

The CSWP evolved into the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP); however, it is no longer affiliated with the University of Chicago. The CSSP has existed as an independent non-profit organization based in Washington, D. C. since 1983.

From the guide to the University of Chicago. Center for the Study of Welfare Policy. Records, 1964-1981, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

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Birth 1925-05-23

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