The Reunion

Dragging my carry-on baggage onto the plane heading for Nebraska, I was a little disconcerted. First, I was not fully recovered from the jet lag after a trip to the beaches of Dakar, Senegal and then the return to a snow bound city. Second, the mysterious disappearance of a Malaysian plane had thoroughly shaken my […]

The Significance of a Typo

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As a child trauma specialist, I have spent my entire career addressing child maltreatment, delinquency, violence, and a variety of tragic circumstances which too often envelop a child’s innocent life……extreme poverty, abandonment, neglect, rape and assault, discrimination, war, mental illness, drugs, disease, abuse, and insidious, disenfranchising stereotypes. This is stressful stuff, but my passion and […]

This is America

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“There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate. I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots. Let’s get rid of this. This is not America.” – Dr. Janis Orlowski, […]

Boys II

The beautiful, graceful anchorwoman asked me on her live newscast, “What is going on? How can these youths kill someone out of boredom?” I paused. Who can really answer this probing question without direct and detailed knowledge of these young offenders? Yet, I also was not surprised or shocked by the tragedy — simply and […]

The Boys

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He sat sprawling low out of his seat with his long legs, while facing me across the large conference table. The eyes looked like shades at half mast on a window, self protective, keeping more in, minimizing the clues which filter out. He was a fairly new resident in NCCF’s high intensity group home and clearly he did not trust any adult in the […]

Another Mother’s Day

Last Thursday night, I stood in front of a podium in the BWI Marriott’s ballroom and introduced a handsome, well dressed fifteen-year-old African American male who lives in a foster home with his younger sibling. As President of Maryland’s state association of private child caring agencies, and before an audience of nearly 400–including many of […]

Fail Safe Reflections on Sandy Hook

I truly have struggled to address the stunning implications of the recent massacre of such sweet innocents in Connecticut. The last few days have moved by much like a slow-motion film, and mostly have been unbelievable. This delay in my personal response to the tragedy may stem from my early (and perhaps premature) days of taking care of […]

Letting Down the Mask

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After working with angry, injured, neglected youth for over 40 years, I am accustomed to having a mask presented to me when I first meet a teenager who psychologically is “in the world alone.” Indeed, he usually prefers to brandish a mask at the initial introduction. See, I’m crazy.  Really, I am bad.  If brave enough, the […]

Legacy of Loss or Hope?

Last week, I thought that we had managed our way soberly, but successfully, through another anniversary of 9/11, with all of its remembrances.  This bookmark in our country’s story recalls also days in my offices on the 23rd floor of Two World Trade Center, during the 70s.  I was employed by the New State Division for Youth as […]

Holders of Hope: Challenging Complex, Wicked Problems

Last Tuesday, I had the honor of speaking before a sold out, national audience of 1,000 social workers in Washington, DC.  Dr. Elizabeth J. Clark, executive director, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) led  this meeting of the decade with the theme “Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work.  I joined Terry Cross of the […]

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