CWLA: Youth Today Didn’t Tell the Whole Story

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Note: Youth Today received the following letter in response to an article last week about Child Welfare League of America. It was written by CWLA Chairman Joe Costa and CEO Christine James-Brown, and submitted by Director of Policy Tim Briceland-Betts.

The December 8, 2011 article (Fate of Child Welfare League of America by John Kelly) about the organization's financial condition missed several critical points. For nearly a century, CWLA has been at the forefront of building the nation’s commitment to ensure safety, well-being, and permanence for vulnerable children, youth, and families. Since our founding in 1920, CWLA has successfully confronted socio-economic challenges and developments impacting at-risk children and families.    

Whether advocating for the passage of key legislation, developing standards for best practices, assisting public and private agencies to implement those practices, or being a respected publisher of policy and practice-changing books, training curricula, and journals, CWLA achieves our mission by leveraging the experiences and accomplishments of a broad network of members and supporters.  

Through a Great Depression, wars, and changes in governments on local, state, and national levels, CWLA has remained steadfast in our commitment to advocate for millions of vulnerable – but nonetheless valuable – children and families in the U.S., and that position has not and will not change. 

Like many other social service organizations in today’s volatile political and budget climate, CWLA has seriously been impacted by the economy, as have many other organizations nationwide – at local, state and federal levels. The big news is how these challenges are being resolved. CWLA's board is meeting this challenge by guiding what will be the most significant transformation in its business model that the organization has ever implemented. The transformation includes a new more inclusive membership and dues strategy, new partnerships that leverage the expertise in other organizations and systems and more efficient use of communications and technology.   

The article also failed to highlight CWLA’s determination, exemplified by the cooperation between our private and public member agencies, to remain true to our guiding spirit: working at local, state and national levels to ensure children in this country are our top priority. Even under the current stressful conditions, CWLA’s board and staff remain committed to supporting its public and private member agencies and the children and families they are mandated and committed to serve. 


Joe Costa
Board Chair

Christine James-Brown