Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

The Dumpson Chair

The James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Research
Fordham University created the James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies in 1980 to honor the life time commitment of James Dumpson to children of our cities by utilizing the full resources of the University and its educational and research resources as a means to improve the quality of life for vulnerable children, especially those in New York City.

Brenda McGowan, D.S.W., currently holds the Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Research.  Link to Dr. McGowan's Profile >>


The Chair focuses its teaching, research, and advocacy on the children of the city of New York who are most in danger of losing their rights or of not enjoying an adequate quality of life.  The Chair facilitates the application of existing research and service methodologies in the child welfare field through education and action.  


The Dumpson Chair helps to address issues relating to children, their families and communities.  Through the Chair and other related programs at the Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham focuses on:

  • Training and support programs for child welfare workers and others in the social service system.

  • Research and interventions designed to recruit and retain child welfare workers.

  • Training programs for citizen boards, judicial experts, and others involved in the independent review process.
  • Developing family support systems and programs to reverse anti-family practices and policies affecting children at risk of removal from their homes.


In establishing the Dumpson Chair, Fordham expected that the University's Graduate School of Social Service would:

  • Create and be recognized as a center of advocacy for poor children and for the children of ethnic and racial minorities as a focus of teaching and research.

  • Provide technical assistance for publication and dissemination of information.

  • Advocate and influence social policies and programs affecting families and children.

  • Impact educational systems, both at the master's and doctoral level - engaging students in research and focusing their education on vulnerable children.

Newest Endowed Chair Works to Stabilize Child Welfare Staffing

First as a young Boston Catholic Charities caseworker helping pregnant teens, and then as a distinguished social work professor, Brenda McGowan, D.S.W., had dedicated her adult life to helping children in peril.

Fordham's newest James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies is well versed in the ways in which systematic pitfalls can fail or harm children who already have been abused or neglected by their families.  She spent 42 years as a child welfare advocate and 33 years on the faculty of Columbia University's School of Social Work before joining Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service (GSS).

McGowan, the author of five books and investigator on countless funded social service research projects, was among a select group chosen to discover why New York City's outsourced child preventative service programs have unusually high employee turnover.

A revolving door of employees in the grassroots agencies, McGowan said, makes adequate training and professional delivery of child preventative services more difficult.  Yet these programs - designed to aid children and families before abuse and neglect gain a foothold - are the critical first line of defense against the dissolution ofthe family.

Read the rest of the article in Inside Fordham. >>

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