News Details

Turning Tragedy Into Triumph

Authored by: Lisa Dugan

Photography by: Candace diCarlo

Faculty & Research


The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research is an interdisciplinary center integrating the work of Penn’s Schools of Social Policy & Practice, Law, and Medicine, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It is guided by some of the nation’s leading experts in the field, whose mission is to provide critical reform to the child welfare system on behalf of victims of child abuse and neglect. The Field Center’s faculty, staff and students collaborate on cutting edge policy, research and practice initiatives.

This year, in response to the alleged child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, the Field Center has focused on much needed change to child abuse reporting laws and policies. Bringing together faculty, fellows, staff, and students representing the disciplines of social work, law, medicine, nursing, and social policy to examine state and county child abuse reporting statutes in Pennsylvania and offered specific modifications that would ultimately result in better protection of children. The interdisciplinary team provided research and evidence-based recommendations to state and federal legislators and other policy makers in order to promote thoughtful reform.

The Field Center’s expertise has been widely recognized. Faculty Director Dr. Cindy Christian was appointed by PA Governor Corbett to serve on the newly created Task Force on Child Protection. Faculty Director Dean Richard Gelles was invited by its chair to testify before the committee. The Field Center will also host the Task force’s first public hearing which will take place on Penn’s campus.