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David Fanshel, DSW (deceased)

Inducted in 2010

Current Position

Professor, Columbia University

Dr. David Fanshel was a professor of social work at Columbia University from 1962 until his retirement in 1993.

From prevention to adoption, his work has spanned the service continuum within the field of child and family welfare. He served as director of a major longitudinal study of over 600 foster children in 80 agencies in New York City over a five year period in the 60s. This study was a harbinger of research that still is scarce; that which studies service characteristics, children’s developmental progress, and their interplay. This work provided the basis for the first major federal child welfare policy, i.e., The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act.

He developed a research approach for the New York City service system of research based primarily on administrative data and served as a precursor to computerized systems in place today. He collaborated with the country’s leading social linguist, William Labov, to study the speech behavior of a social worker-therapist and a client (Therapeutic Discourse: Psychotherapy as Conversation, Academic Press 1977).

Dr. Fanshel was awarded a Secretary’s Commemorative Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (on the 75th Anniversary of the U.S. Children’s Bureau) for significant contributions in promoting the well-being, growth and development of America’s children.

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