American Humane Association Bestows Highest National Award on Child Development Pioneer Dr. Lewis P. Lipsitt

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Brown University Professor Wins Vincent De Francis Award in Recognition for Lifetime Achievement in Research, Thought leadership, and Advocacy on Behalf of Nation's Children


WASHINGTON, D.C. – American Humane Association, which for 135 years has been a chief force behind virtually every major development and advance in the protection of the nation's children and animals, has given its highest award for extraordinary achievements in the field of child welfare to child development pioneer and youth protection advocate Dr. Lewis P. Lipsitt.

The coveted Vincent De Francis Award was passed to Dr. Lipsitt by American Humane Association on the 100th anniversary of The Children's Bureau, part of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, and Department of Health and Human Services, during its 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in the nation's capital.

The prestigious award was given to Dr. Lipsitt in recognition of his lifetime achievements for outstanding research, thought leadership, and advocacy on behalf of our nation's children. Previous winners include Vincent De Francis, who served as American Humane Association's director of children's services from 1954-1977, C. Henry Kempe, Robert M. Mulford, Elizabeth "Betty" Elmer, Rosalynn Carter, Alexander G. Zaphiris, Robert W. ten Bensel, Norman Polansky, Donna J. Stone Pesch, Vincent J. Fontana, Robert E. "Bud" Cramer Jr., Peter Forsythe, James Garbarino, Anne Cohn Donnelly, Michael Weber, Frederich "Rick" C. Green, Patricia Schene, William C. Bell of Casey Family Programs, and Len Dalgleish.

Dr. Lipsitt is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Medical Sciences, and Human Development at Brown University. The founder and director of the Brown University Child Study Center, Lipsitt is acknowledged as one of America's leading child development pioneers. He is the founding editor of Advances in Child Development and Behavior and the Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Newsletter. His articles on infant learning and perception, prenatal risk, crib death, adolescent suicide, and other conditions that threaten young people's lives, have appeared in many scientific journals and popular national magazines including Sesame Street Parents Guide, BabyTalk, CHILD, and Nick Jr.

Dr. Lipsitt has focused vital attention on addressing "behavioral misadventures," the conditions that kill and debilitate more young people than all diseases combined, as well as on children's memory and memory aberrations. For many years Dr. Lipsitt co-directed the KidsPeace Lee Salk Center for Research, conducting groundbreaking research and developing abuse and crisis prevention tools reaching millions of young people and their families. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Rhode Island Kids Count, Rhode Island's premier child advocacy organization. Previously he served as Executive Director for Science at the American Psychological Association, and was president of the Eastern Psychological Association.

Dr. Lipsitt received his B.A. from the University of Chicago, M.S. in clinical and social psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Ph.D. in child psychology from the University of Iowa. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952-1954 as a clinical psychologist. Lipsitt has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Lipsitt lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife, educator Edna Duchin Lipsitt. They have two children, Ann, who works with special education youth, and Mark, a talented animal behaviorist.

"Since the modern Compassion Movement started in the late Nineteenth Century, there have been thousands of dedicated professionals who have dedicated their lives to building a better world for America's children," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "But only a few have made the kind of impact that Dr. Lipsitt has. Through his research, his insight, his contributions to our understanding of the key challenges facing young people, his advocacy and abiding sense of compassion, he can truly be called a hero to the nation's children."

"I am doubly honored to receive this award," said Dr. Lipsitt. "Bearing as it does the name of one of the real giants in the child welfare field, and coming from American Humane Association, an organization that has been involved in so many of the great advances in the protection of the voiceless and the vulnerable. Thank you."

American Humane Association has worked since 1877 to create many landmark protections for U.S. children and animals (see historical timeline below).

Vincent De Francis served as director of children's services at American Humane Association from 1954 through 1977. During that period, he published many works that provide the underlying foundation of child protection as we know it today. One fundamental concept of "rescuing the family for the child" and the philosophy that "child protective services should be child-centered and family-focused" originated with De Francis. De Francis was instrumental in defining child protection as a helping, non-punitive approach. He saw it as a preventive program that "keeps family and children together by aiding them to resolve the problems underlying the neglect." A lawyer by training and a social worker at heart, De Francis had an extraordinary vision and talent. His efforts with American Humane Association contributed to the transformation of child protection from a law-enforcement model to a preventive and family-centered approach.

About American Humane Association
Since 1877 American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.


American Humane Association: Historical Highlights and Timeline


1877  American Humane Association was founded on October 9 in Cleveland, Ohio, by local humane society representatives from around the United States. The new organization's first goal was to secure humane treatment for working animals and livestock in transit.

1886  American Humane Association's constitution was amended to officially include children in its agenda.

1894  The Link® between violence toward animals and violence toward people was first mentioned at American Humane Association's annual convention: "The man who was cruel to his beast would be unkind to his wife and child."

1909  American Humane Association took on the issue of child labor.

1913  American Humane Association's quarterly magazine, The National Humane Review, was published for the first time. The magazine featured articles on humane issues, profiles of prominent humanitarians, briefs on humane legislation and reports from local organizations.

1914  American Humane Association called for safe, off-street playgrounds.

1915  American Humane Association initiated Be Kind to Animals Week® and launched a national poster contest for children. Be Kind to Animals Week is still celebrated annually during the first full week of May and is one of the oldest special weeklong observances in the U.S.

1916  The U.S. Secretary of War invited American Humane Association "to undertake the work of doing for Army animals what the American Red Cross is doing for soldiers." American Humane Association created American Red Star Animal Relief to rescue wounded horses on the battlefields of World War I.

1921  American Humane Association called for legislation to protect children working in the motion picture industry.

1931  American Humane Association approved a set of standards for child protection societies, which urged them to maintain the privacy rights of the children and adults they serve and to employ professional caseworkers. The organization also encouraged child welfare agencies to protect families and remove children from their parents only when absolutely necessary.

1940  After the 1939 filming of Jesse James, in which a terrified horse was killed after being forced to run off a cliff, American Humane Association opened its Western Regional Office in Hollywood, California, to fight cruelty to animals in film and television.

American Humane Association lobbied for a bill protecting the bald eagle, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law.

1941  American Humane Association established standards of operation for animal protection societies. The Association of Motion Picture Producers agreed to give American Humane Association open access to the sets of all movies using animals.

1945  American Humane Association started a program to provide therapy dogs for recovering World War II veterans.

1950  American Humane Association issued Standards for Child Protective Services Agencies, which clearly defined physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse and identified a three-stage process of child protective work, including fact-finding, diagnosis and treatment.

1963  American Humane Association proposed that all 50 states pass laws requiring doctors who discover injuries inflicted on children to report the cases to child protective services.

1969  American Humane Association supported the passage of the Endangered Species Conservation Act, which provided protection for and prohibited the import of species in danger of worldwide extinction.

American Humane Association's first comprehensive study of sexual abuse of children found that child sexual abuse occurred in far greater numbers than did reported cases of battering.

1970  American Humane Association tackled pet overpopulation, suggesting that owners spay or neuter their animals. Critical attention was also drawn to the emergence of mass breeding operations, or "puppy mills."

1971  An article in The National Humane Review exposed the widespread existence of cockfighting in the U.S. and called on law enforcement to crack down on the inhumane contests.

1972  American Humane Association's first "No Animals Were Harmed"® end credit was issued to the movie The Doberman Gang.

1975  American Humane Association observed its first annual Adopt-A-Cat Month®, to encourage the adoption of cats from overcrowded animal shelters.

1976  With a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, American Humane Association began its National Study on Child Neglect and Abuse reporting in every state, collecting and analyzing child abuse reports to determine their characteristics.

1981  American Humane Association celebrated its first annual Adopt-A-Dog Month®, to encourage the adoption of dogs from local animal shelters.

1991  To keep soldiers from having to permanently give up their pets, American Humane Association developed guidelines for animal shelters to foster pets of military reservists sent to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm.

1995  American Humane Association became a primary proponent of family group decision making (FGDM) in the U.S. FGDM is an innovative method of getting extended families involved in making critical decisions about children who are in the child welfare system.

American Humane Association established the Second Chance® Fund to provide grants to local animal care agencies to pay for medical expenses of animal victims of malicious violence.

1997  American Humane Association launched The Front Porch Project® to directly involve community members in child protection.

1999  American Humane Association's first Tag Day was celebrated to help lost pets get reunited with owners.

2000  American Humane Association launched its farm animal program to establish standards for the humane care of animals in agriculture and began certifying farms committed to raising livestock humanely.

2001  After terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, American Humane Association's Red Star Animal Emergency Services delivered supplies and equipment to New York City and provided medical examinations, care and decontamination for search-and-rescue dogs.

2005  Red Star Animal Emergency Services deployed to Louisiana to help animal victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. With 18,000 man-hours logged by volunteers and staff over more than six weeks, it was the longest and most extensive disaster response in American Humane Association's history.

2006  American Humane Association hosted its first differential response conference. Differential response is an approach that allows child protective services to respond differently to each child abuse report, depending on the severity of the abuse, the family's history and other factors. To address growing issues in child welfare, American Humane Association established the Immigration and Child Welfare initiative and the Fatherhood initiative.

2007  American Humane Association established the Child Protection Research Center to address long-standing issues related to the improvement of public child protective services. The Center examines the child welfare system's racial disproportionality, among other issues.

2008  Denver Pet Partners, an animal-assisted therapy organization, became a program of American Humane Association.

American Humane Association established the Child Welfare Disparities Resource Center to address issues of how services are managed, resourced and provided based on race and ethnicity.

2009  UNICEF chose American Humane Association's Child Protection Research Center and its partner, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, to work on its international household surveys on child discipline.

The majority of the nation's cage-free egg producers became certified by the American Humane Association Certified farm animal program.

2010  Along with other animal welfare organizations, American Humane Association joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti to provide funding and emergency response services for animals affected by the earthquake.

2010  Began a ground-breaking partnership with Pfizer to determine how animal-assisted therapy can improve the health and well-being of children with cancer, and their families.

2011  Established the Animal Welfare Research Institute to explore and achieve advances in predictive, preventive and participatory methods to save animals' lives and improve their quality of life.

Launched the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ to honor dogs who transform people's lives through unconditional love, devotion and intuition.

2012  Launched the Children's Innovation Institute.

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