NEW YORK CITY – Noted child welfare scholar and educator William Meezan has joined the national advocacy organization Children’s Rights as director of policy and research. Meezan comes to Children’s Rights from the Ohio State University, where he was a professor of social work and served as dean of the College of Social Work from 2005-2009.
Meezan, who began his career as a social worker, has been at the forefront of social work research across the country and has served as an expert consultant to numerous social agencies, foundations, schools of social work, and national organizations — including work as an expert witness in Children’s Rights’ class action to reform child welfare in New Mexico (known as Joseph A. v. Bolson).
An accomplished author and researcher in the field of social work and child welfare services, Meezan has co-authored four books and published more than 50 articles and chapters in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. Among his many awards in the field, he has been honored with the 2009 Pro Humanitate Literary Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare.
“As we seek to expand our efforts to bring vital improvements to the lives of more children dependent on our nation’s troubled child welfare systems, we are very fortunate to be able to draw on the wealth of experience and expertise that Bill Meezan brings to Children’s Rights,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, the organization’s founder and executive director. “He is an innovative thinker and a passionate advocate, and his influence will be felt in our campaigns for child welfare reform and in the results they produce for abused and neglected children nationwide.”
Prior to his tenure at Ohio State University, Meezan served as the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and a Senior Fulbright Scholar in the Baltic States, where he helped organize the first schools of social work in Lithuania and Latvia.
Meezan received his bachelor of arts from University of Vermont and master of social work from Florida State University. He received his doctorate in social welfare from Columbia University, where he was later inducted into that institution’s School of Social Work Hall of Fame.
Children’s Rights’ policy team supports the organization’s campaigns for child welfare reform and conducts intensive studies on public policy issues vital to improved protection and treatment for abused and neglected children in the care of child welfare agencies. The organization’s most recent study, issued in November 2009, examined the barriers that keep thousands of children languishing in New York City foster care rather than going home to permanent families, and led to the creation of a new citywide program aimed at speeding children’s progress toward permanency. Previous studies on child welfare workforce issues, foster care support payments, and other topics have contributed to federal and state legislation and other initiatives aimed at improving the operation of child welfare systems at all levels.