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Release: Immediate

Registration begun for conference on social services innovation

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Registration has begun for a University of Iowa conference on innovative programs designed to help children and their families.

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. The registration fee is $65, though a reduced fee of $10 is available on a first come, first served basis for up to 30 community residents and families.

The keynote speaker will be Lisbeth Schorr, a prominent author and national authority on improving the lives of disadvantaged children. 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 is author of the 1988 book, "Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage," and a forthcoming book tentatively titled, "Common Purpose: Strengthening Families, Communities and the Civic Society."

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.

Materials from the participating panel groups will be available, and conference attendees are welcome to bring materials or displays about interesting projects. Following the conference will be a separate, and optional, dinner for alumni of the UI School of Social Work. To receive a brochure with further information and a registration form for the conference, contact John Zalenski at (319)335-2200 or Margaret Nelson at (319)335-1276.