This book is the result of a comparative investigation of child abuse reporting systems that took shape over three years, an effort sustained by generous assistance from several sources. Once again, I am indebted to the family members who established the Milton and Gertrude Chernin Chair in Social Services and Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, which permitted me the time and resources to plan this project and to begin work on the initial phase. I owe special gratitude to the Conrad Hilton Foundation for providing the support needed to facilitate the research efforts of the international study team. Toward the end of this project I was fortunate to receive a foundation grant to organize a final meeting with the research team -- a lively gathering at which findings were shared as we grappled with some of the philosophical differences that animated the design and functioning of child abuse reporting systems.
My thinking on the difficult issues of identifying and treating child abuse has benefited from the works of many scholars in this area, but none more than those of Douglas Besharov and D uncan Lindsey. Rick Barth and Jill Duerr Berrick, along with other colleagues and students at the Family Welfare Research Group, are a constant source of critical insight and good advice. During the last two years of this comparative project, I was privileged to be a participant in the Executive Session on New Paradigms for Child Protective Services conducted at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Led by Frank Hartmann and Mark Moore, we engaged in a series of probing discussions about how to address the crisis of child abuse reporting in the United States, which honed my interests in comparative analysis.
Special thanks are owed to Lissa Roos Parker, who kept me organized and helped in the preparation of the manuscript with meticulous care and a winning smile. In the last stages of this project, I served as the Acting Dean of the School of Social Welfare and was immensely fortunate to have Jim Steele, the Assistant Dean for Administration, as a stalwart partner to help manage the bureaucratic demands of university life. Finally, over the years much of what I did not understand about social welfare policy was brought to my attention (and frequently rectified) with habitual glee by my dear friend Harry Specht to whose memory this book is dedicated. His wise counsel is sorely missed.
Berkeley, California N.G.