Mark Testa, the Spears-Turner Distinguished Professor of Social Work, has been selected by the national Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) as a member of the organization’s “100 Champions for Children.” The annual award recognizes numerous individual and group efforts to promote child well-being and advance the field of child welfare.
The award was to be presented March 28 during the CWLA’s 2020 Conference: “100th Anniversary Year, Sharing Ideas that Strengthen Families and Engage Communities to Promote Child Well-Being.” The conference was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Testa and other honorees will be featured in CWLA’s year-long anniversary activities, including a social media campaign, special 100th anniversary webpage, and more.
Those receiving this year’s award include chief executive officers and board members, direct service workers and administrators, resource parents and kinship caregivers, youth, faith-based leaders, community members, elected officials, media outlets, authors, and researchers. All contribute to the shared goals of improving outcomes for children, youth, and families and helping them to succeed and flourish, noted CWLA President and CEO Christine James-Brown.
Testa joined the School of Social Work faculty in 2010 and is a a nationally known expert in child welfare, foster care and kinship care. His career spans nearly 40 years, including faculty appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago. While in Illinois, he led the Illinois Subsidized Guardianship Demonstration program, with reforms that helped to decrease the number of children in foster care in that state by nearly 62 percent. He has also served as director of the Child and Family Research Center and has received awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Services and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, among other honors.