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Children and Families

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Since the publication of her 1988 book, Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, Lisbeth B. Schorr has earned wide acclaim for highlighting the attributes of programs that have improved the outcomes of at-risk children and families.

Addressing a group of journalists last month, however, she warned that the existing piecemeal aid system "makes it impossible to maintain'' many effective programs. Despite their well-documented success, only half of the 24 programs cited in her book still exist, she noted.

Ms. Schorr, the director of the Project on Effective Services at Harvard University, stressed in an interview that many of the defunct programs have inspired more good work. But, she said, the fact they were not sustained is "a good metaphor for the systems problem.''

Ms. Schorr, whose next book will address what it takes to make human-services systems work, spoke at a conference run by the University of Maryland's new Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families. The center, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, aims to help improve media coverage of children's issues.

William A. Galston, the deputy assistant to President Clinton for domestic policy, told the group that the White House is planning to launch an interagency group that would explore how the federal government can better coordinate family programs.

He also noted that Mr. Clinton recently signed a memorandum establishing a "community enterprise board'' whose mission in part is to seek state and local advice on how to ease federal barriers to serving distressed communities.

The Georgia Academy, a nonprofit training organization for child- and youth-service providers, has launched a quarterly journal to offer practical and interdisciplinary ideas on improving family-aid systems.

The first issue of the Georgia Academy Journal addressed such topics as child abuse, school reform, child care, and collaboration among human-services providers, drawing on national and Georgia-based efforts. The next issue will be out next month.

For more information, call or write Joe Raymond, Georgia Academy, 260 Peachtree St., N.W., Suite 800, Atlanta, Ga. 30303-1237; (404) 527-7394.

The American Association of Retired Persons has set up a Grandparent Information Center to help the growing numbers of older Americans who are raising their grandchildren.

The center, funded by a grant from the New York City-based Brookdale Foundation Group, provides information on support groups and other resources.

The information center's number is (202) 434-2296.--D.C.

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