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Release: Immediate

UI conference to highlight innovations in social services

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The newest innovations in social service programs for children and families are the subjects of an upcoming conference at the University of Iowa.

Sponsored in part by the UI School of Social Work, the "Innovations in Social Services" conference will be from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 14 in the Old Brick church, located at the corner of Clinton and Market Streets.

Pre-registration and a fee of $65 is required. However, the public is invited to attend the address by Lisbeth Schorr, a prominent author and national authority on improving the lives of children.

Schorr will speak on the topic, "Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Communities" from 9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. The cost to attend Schorr's keynote lecture is $5, and visitors should bypass the general registration lines and pay the conference representative located at the central door leading into the meeting hall.

Schorr is a lecturer in social medicine at Harvard University, director of the Harvard Project on Effective Interventions and co-chair of the Aspen Institute's Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Children and Families. She also is author of the 1988 book, "Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage," and a forthcoming book tentatively titled, "Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America."

The conference also will include a panel discussion with several Midwestern social service organizations, including two Cedar Rapids groups, the Patch Project and the Partnership Project: Integrating Domestic Violence into Child Protection. Also participating will be representatives from the Children, Youth and Families Initiative of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children, the St. Paul/Ramsey County Children's Initiative and the St. Louis Caring Communities Programs. The afternoon schedule includes breakout sessions with the panel participants and a final session on "Strategies for Sustaining Innovative Projects."

The conference also is sponsored by the UI-based National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, Linn County Decategorization, the Patch Project, the Child and Family Policy Center, the American Humane Association and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. Funding for the conference was made possible in part by an "Innovations in American Government" award from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.

To pre-register for the conference, contact John Zalenski at (319)335-2200 or Margaret Nelson at (319)335-1276.